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Book review: Zero Day by S. Hussain Zaidi

About the book

Mumbai is in a state of chaos. All traffic signals across the entire city have stopped working.

Shahwaz Ali Mirza, head of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, receives an anonymous email claiming it to be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. He quickly puts together a crack team that includes his protege, IG Cybercrime Vikrant Singh, and gets to work trawling the dark web for more information on this mystery attack. However, a move to bring forward the hacker backfires, leading to a second, deadlier attack on Mumbai’s lifeline, the railway system.

It is their first brush with cyberterrorism: a zero-day vulnerability in the Indian government’s system that could bring the country to its knees. Racing against time and investigating a case unlike any other, in Zero Day, Mirza and Vikrant face the most dangerous mission of their lives.

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My thoughts

imagine servers of the ENTIRE city traffic got hacked and stopped functioning, you ended up facing your worst nightmare. Chaos, confusion, cars in every possible lane, accidents, and causalities. exactly that's how Zero day by Hussain Zaidi starts.

As the head of the Mumbai ATS investigates with his best student IG Vikrant Singh and found "Muntakim", a masked man, is the one behind the cyber attack and threaten to launch a much bigger attack to bring down the Indian Government on its knees. Is it a terrorist organization, is it a hacker from an enemy nation, or a mad man wanting some media attention?

Hussain Zaidi never fails to deliver a power-packed story in a crisp narrative. He focused on the increasing rate of cyber crimes and the vulnerability of our information online. Cat and mouse chase between police and attacker, peppered with a sweet love story, kept me engaged throughout. The book in fact finished faster than I had anticipated. The book also focused on the real issues of the country. The short-sighted nature of politicians and constant ego battles in administration. Written in the simplest form, the book keot my adrenaline level throughout the session. Do I recomemed reading this? Yes. Perfect one time pick me up book.

About the author

S. Hussain Zaidi is one of the most prolific crime writers in India. The investigations into the Mumbai mafia that he has conducted in books such as Dongri to Dubai, Mafia Queens of Mumbai and My Name is Abu Salem are among the finest investigative reporting of all time.

As the Resident Editor of the newspaper The Asian Age, Zaidi began his career in journalism. He then worked for several other publications, including The Indian Express, Mid Day, and Mumbai Mirror. Authors like Misha Glenny in McMafia and Vikram Chandra in Sacred Games drew on his in-depth research into the Mumbai mafia for their works. Adrian Levy, the author of books like The Meadows on Kashmir terrorism and The Siege on 26/11 attacks, consults him on a variety of subjects.

His reporting on the Mumbai mafia has spanned decades. Black Friday, written in 2002, is a book about the 1993 Mumbai bombings, which had 13 explosions and caused 250 deaths. Two years later, in 2004, Anurag Kashyap adapted the book into a film also titled Black Friday. As a result of the controversy surrounding the film, the Indian Censor Board refused to allow its release in India for three years, and the Supreme Court of India eventually allowed its release after a unanimous judgment in the Bombay blasts case delivered by TADA court.

Zaidi conducted an interview with the suspected bombing mastermind Dawood Ibrahim for the book Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia, a history of the Mumbai mafia involving the Mumbai mafia. In 2012, Sanjay Gupta adapted the book into the film Shootout at Wadala.

Phantom, the 2015 film starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, is based on Zaidi's book Mumbai Avengers, and the screenplay for it was written with Zaidi's assistance.

As an associate producer, he worked on the HBO documentary Terror in Mumbai, which tells the story of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

This post is sponsored by HarperCollins India in exchange of unbiased views.

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