In Salem’s Cipher by Jess Lourey, Salem and Bel have been friends since childhood. Bel is now a police officer in Chicago, while Salem is a genius cryptanalyst who has been sought after by the world’s top security agencies since she made a quantum computing breakthrough in college. She’s also been an agoraphobe, unable to leave the safety of her comfort zones of work and home since the death of her father.
The women are brought back together when their mothers mysteriously disappear and another woman is found murdered close to where they were last seen.
They follow the clues and codes, which lead them to messages encrypted by Emily Dickinson and codes tucked inside the partially unbroken Beale Cipher a hundred years earlier.
Along the way they find out their mothers were part of a secret organization of women known as The Underground, battling a ruthless group of men called The Heritage that has operated since being formed by President Andrew Jackson.
Meanwhile they have both assassins and the FBI on their tail, and it appears the Heritage’s plans include killing a female presidential candidate. A centuries old battle of the sexes rests upon Salem and Bel solving the final clues before that happens.
I enjoyed Salem’s Cipher from the beginning. The story has tones of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, but only in the way that the historical information used in the story is well-researched and presented as plausible plot points.
The characters were well-written – except I couldn’t wrap my head around the assassin that could mold his face – and the pacing was fast and even. A lot happens but it will keep your attention.
The ending of the book nicely sets up a sequel, and based on this first book, I’m looking forward to the story continuing.
I would give Salem’s Cipher by Jess Lourey 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes via NetGalley. As always, my opinions are my own. There are also affiliate links used in this review which help pay for this site at no additional cost to you.
- What’s Coming to #AmazonPrime September 2017 - September 6, 2017
- Netflix September 2017 Additions and Departures - September 5, 2017
- When It All Goes to Hell with your Laptop - September 4, 2017
- Airboating on the Delta is a Must-Do in Mobile Alabama #VisitMobile - August 7, 2017
- Netflix August 2017 Additions and Departures - July 28, 2017
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a Beautiful Film that Falters on the Story - July 21, 2017
- Book Review: ‘Matchup’ Pairs Bestselling Mystery Authors in a Short Story Anthology Worth Reading - July 14, 2017
- Spider-Man: Homecoming Is the Most Fun Outing for the Webslinger Yet - July 7, 2017
- My Recap of #BlogHer17 – Maybe Not the Right Conference for Me - June 30, 2017
- Netflix July 2017 Additions and Departures - June 26, 2017