The Enigma Factor wins the Best of Texas Book Award for TechnoThriller

A complex thriller with a hacker-centric plot and polished technological descriptions that may attract new fans.

The Enigma Factor, created by the writing team of Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey, has received the Best of Texas Book Award for TechnoThriller.

The Award was presented by the Authors Marketing Guild in Austin, Texas.


In the novel,  Jacob Michaels, computer network security-tester extraordinaire, tries to settle into a quiet life of work to polish his technology skills after the death of his mother.

Cyber-criminals are hunting for new victims when they target the brilliant programmer to try to seduce into joining their cause. More people are hunting him than just the Russian cyber kingpin.

As Jacob sets off to find those who target him, he discovers other technologists’ views which puts him in direct contact with previously unknown global experts.

Buzz, when looking for the easy way inadvertently crosses the line to the dark side then begs his best friend Jacob for help. Jacob, brilliant as he is may not have enough experience to win this on his own. Of course, having your identity erased makes helping anybody else secondary to your problems.

Jacob battles against global cyber masterminds using his knowledge of programming, identity theft, and hacking but learns more about security and encryption when he connects with the distractingly beautiful encryptionist Petra.

Jacob’s challenge is how to keep ahead of the criminals and identify who to trust.

In their debut TechnoThriller, The Enigma Factor, award-winning authors Breakfield and Burkey weave a complex tale of danger, intrigue, and international cyber combat. They use a relevant technology foundation, then layer on travel, romance, humor, and mystery

Like rust, the cat and mouse game of the new cyber warfare age never sleeps.

Review by Kirkus:

In this debut techno-thriller, the first in a planned series, a hacker finds his life turned upside down as a mysterious company tries to recruit him.

Jacob Michaels, a hacker working as a tester for a New York information-security company called PT, Inc., is happy to be invited for a meeting at DEFCON, an annual hacker convention in Las Vegas.

However, the invite comes in the form of an airline ticket with Jacob’s full name and address–information that he usually keeps concealed. It soon becomes clear that Jacob is under cyber attack, as people start receiving emails he didn’t send, and even the keycard to his room gets rejected. Meanwhile, a strange man named Otto is trying to hire Jacob–while also monitoring Jacob without his knowledge. Breakfield and Burkey’s novel is a thriller for the 21st century.

Instead of drug or money mules, it features “information mules” who steal others’ codes and work for organizations such as Dteam, a Russian group that pilfers funds electronically. Jacob gradually learns about Otto’s business and its possible link to Jacob’s mother, who was run down by a car; at the same time, he becomes close with fellow hacker Petra, who may be on Otto’s payroll.

Later, the focus shifts toward Dteam, run by a man named Grigory, and a Chinese school for cyber warfare run by Lt. Col. Ling Po. Grigory and Po are remarkable villains, but the new subplots make Jacob a supporting character in his own story.

On the plus side, Buzz, Jacob’s rich-kid friend who paid his way through MIT, faces so many obstacles that most readers won’t notice that the protagonist is sitting on the sidelines.

Some exclamations, such as “Oh, poop!” give the story the feel of a YA novel, but the story’s sex scenes are markedly adult, in a romance-novel way: “[H]e pulled her closer and kissed her with such passion she immediately heated up.”

A complex thriller with a hacker-centric plot and polished technological descriptions that may attract new fans.

Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey

About the authors:

Breakfield and Burkey started writing non-fictional papers and books, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as writing fictional stories.

They found it interesting to use the aspects of technology that people are incorporating into their daily lives more and more as a perfect way to create a good guy/bad guy story with elements of travel to the various places they have visited, either professionally and personally, humor, romance, intrigue, suspense, and a spirited way to remember people who have crossed paths with them.

They love to talk about their stories with private and public book readings.

Burkey is also conducting regular radio interviews with other authors, which is interesting. Her first interview was, wait for it, Breakfield. You can often find them at local book fairs or other family-oriented events.

The original series is based on a family organization called R-Group. Recently they have spawned a subgroup that contains some of the original characters as the Cyber Assassins Technology Services (CATS) team.

The authors have ideas for continuing the series in both of these tracks. They track the more than 150 characters on a spreadsheet, with a hidden avenue for the future coined The Enigma Chronicles tagged in some portions of the stories.

Fan reviews seem to frequently suggest that these would make good television or movie stories, so the possibilities appear endless, just like their ideas for new stories.

They have completed book video trailers for each of the stories, which can be viewed on YouTube, Amazon’s Authors page, or on their website,

Their website is routinely updated with new interviews, answers to readers’ questions, book trailers, and contests. You may also find it fascinating to check out the fun acronyms they create for the stories but summarize on their website.

Reach out to them at [email protected], Twitter @EnigmaSeries, or Facebook @TheEnigmaSeries.

Please click HERE to find The Enigma Factor on Amazon.

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