CD Reiss’ “King of Code” has so many twists and turns you are wonderfully inside-out throughout this Enemies-to-Lovers Thrill Ride. This novel has a delicious slow-burn that has you singing the “Halleluiah” chorus when the couple exchange “I Love You”s. The Hero and Heroine are not easy sells. Meaning they aren’t the most likeable characters you’ll find. At first. They’re both harboring secrets and play games so hard they don’t know which way is up much of the time. “King of Code addresses and challenges so many societal and economic issues. The “Good Old Boy” atmosphere in the computer world, the socio-economic demise of small towns, Hacking, and the Dark Web. In addition to that this novel is rich with sexual chemistry and , dense steamy heat. The setting is full of wonderfully detailed bit players and the storyline will reel you in and keep you riveted.
Taylor Harden is attempting to go straight. Get away from his Dark Web Hacking with a legitimate venture. He starts a company, of all male programmers and coders (1 token woman) that proposes it is unhackable. Unfortunately during a high-profile interview his system is hacked almost immediately in front of a roomful of reporters. Taylor vows to find the hacker and make him pay. The hacker deliberately left clues as to their whereabouts. Taylor eventually discovers the hacker is a woman whose path he’s crossed many times. Unfortunately he doesn’t remember her. Not only that she doesn’t really have anything to lose.
Harper Barrington is the descendant of the town founder. Her father ran his business into the ground before he died and thereby dooming the town. Now Harper feels it’s her duty to make up for her father’s “sins” and rescue the semi-functional “Ghost Town”. She claims to have a plan in to bring the town back to life and it doesn’t involve Taylor Harden. Harper repeatedly tells Taylor he wasn’t supposed to come. She’s “courting” a friend of his to buy the town’s abandoned bottle factory. Harper’s basically going “Misery” on Taylor by killing his rental car, scrambling his cellular connectivity, and making his phone inaccessible.
Taylor’s feeling toward Harper is simultaneously Hot and Cold. He admires her hacking skills but resents essentially being a hostage. Taylor is addicted to her beauty but believes she’s completely insane. He loves her brilliant mind but hates the fact that Harper’s ruined him to get what she wants. Taylor wants Harper out of his life but he doesn’t want anyone else to have her.
The fictional town of Barrington is a cautionary social commentary tale on its own. Luckily it’s full of colorful characters. Some are innocent players, walking wounded and a few are mischievous helpers. It’s here in Middle-of-Nowhere, USA that Taylor finds his Truths and remembers his own Origin Story. Some lessons are amusing to watch as they play out.
But eventually the Game changes. Allies become enemies and enemies are the allies. Even the basis of the Game changes. When the wolves are at the door and everything Taylor really wants becomes simultaneously within reach at in mortal danger. Taylor ultimately regains what he lost and loses everything he never knew he always needed.
“King of Code” is deliciously decadent. Rich in a complex storyline rife with intrigue, coding, strategy, subterfuge, romance and unbridled sex. Taylor is a tough Hero to love. He’s egotistical, misogynistic, and rude but inside he is soft, tender, and sexy! Since the book is in Taylor’s Point of View Harper’s a mystery throughout half of the book. CD Reiss delivers a novel that checks off every box and hold you captive while doing it. The characters, storyline, romance, and sexy times are all Spot On!
I’m giving “King of Code” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.