Zak and Riley have been best friends since third grade and are now attending college together. Zak is working on an engineering degree and Riley a math degree. When Zak is whisked away one evening by another student and taken to a mansion where Zak discovers an alternate reality, he can not wait to get back to Riley for help in understanding what he has been through.
Zak and Riley work together to figure out what exactly it is Zak experienced. In the course of their investigations, they realize that they are being played, manipulated, and even hunted. They find more and more evidence and people involved in a complicated criminal scheme that they may never be able to leave behind. There is no question that both their lives will be forever changed.
Towles has written one twisted, compelling crime novel that involves cryptology, the dark web, organized crime, drugs, college students, and a receipt for a notebook. This is a quick read with short chapters, a lot of dialogue, a significant amount of technical details, and a fast pace. There are a few moments when Towles asks the reader to suspend their disbelief in the events that occur but these only make the story more interesting. This is one read any computer nerd would love.