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Rick Dakan


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Rick Dakan lives, writes, and plays in Sarasota, Florida, his home and native town. Born in 1972, he grew up in Florida before going on to attend college at American University in Washington DC (where he earned a BA in History) and then Ohio State University (where he didn't earn an MA in History). It was in those bleak, cold, Ohio years of the mid-90's that he started writing for a living, and he hasn't stopped since. Over the next few years he scratched out a rewarding if poor living writing role-playing game books for numerous product lines, including: Wraith: The Oblivion, Kult, Conspiracy X, Deadlands, Vampire: The Masquerade, and Dungeons & Dragons.

In 2000 he came up with an idea for an online computer game which eventually became the hit 2004 release City of Heroes. Teaming up with long-time friend Michael Lewis and a bevy of talented folks, he moved out to San Jose, California and helped found Cryptic Studios. Three years later his partners fired him, but that didn't stop him from continuing to work on the game and writing and publishing a twelve issue comic book series based on the game. He wrote his first novel, Geek Mafia, in 2005.

He's a regular fixture in the hacker scene and is working on a non-fiction book about privacy with Private Investigator Steven Rambam and a second non-fiction book on hackers. His third novel, The Cthulhu Cult, is almost finished, and the third Geek Mafia novel, Geek Mafia: Black Hat Blues is now available!

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Black Hat Blues

Geek Mafia: Black Hat Blues
by Rick Dakan
ISBN: 978-1-60486-088-7
Published Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272 Pages
Size: 8 by 5
Subjects: Fiction, Thriller


What do you call 1000 hackers assembled into one hotel for the weekend? A menace to society? Trouble waiting to happen? They call it a computer security conference, or really, a Hacker Con. A place for hackers, security experts, penetration testers, and tech geeks of all stripes to gather and discuss the latest hack, exploits, and gossip. For Paul, Chloe, and their Crew of con artist vigilantes, it's the perfect hunting ground for their most ambitious plans yet.

After a year of undercover recruiting at hacker cons all over the country, Chloe and Paul have assembled a new Crew of elite hackers, driven anarchist activists, and seductive impersonators. Under the cover of one of the Washington DC's biggest and most prestigious hacker events, they’re going up against power house lobbyists, black hat hackers, and even the U.S. Congress in order to take down their most challenging, and most deserving target yet. The stakes have never been higher for them, and who knows if their new recruits are up to the immense challenge of undermining “homeland security” for the greater good.

Inspired by years of author Rick Dakan's research in the hacker community, Geek Mafia: Black Hat Blues, opens a new, self-contained chapter in the techno-thriller series.

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Mile Zero

Geek Mafia: Mile Zero
by Rick Dakan
ISBN: 978-1-60486-002-3
Published December 2007
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 330 Pages
Size: 8 by 5
Subjects: Fiction, Thriller


Key West-originally Cayo Huesos or Isle of Bones, for centuries a refuge for pirates, wreckers, writers, scoundrels, drunks, and tourists. Now home to a Crew of techno geek con artists whoʼve turned it into their own private hunting ground. Paul and Chloe have the run of the sun-drenched island, free to play and scam far from the enemies they left behind in Silicon Valley.

But that doesnʼt mean they canʼt bring a little high tech know-how to the paradise. They and their new Crew have covered the island with their own private Big Brother style network-hidden cameras, RFID sensors, and a web of informers that tip them off about every crime committed and tourist trapped on the island. But will all the gadgets and games be enough when not one but three rival crews of con artists come to hold a top-secret gang summit? And when one of them is murdered, who will solve the crime?

Inspired by author Rick Dakanʼs own eventful experiences in the video game and comic book industries, the Geek Mafia series satisfies the hunger in all of us to buck the system, take revenge on corporate America, and live a life of excitement and adventure.

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geek mafia

Geek Mafia
by Rick Dakan
ISBN: 978-1-60486-006-1
Published March 2008
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 355 pages
Size: 8 by 5
Subjects: Fiction, Thriller


Fired from a job he hated at a company he loved, videogame designer Paul Reynolds is drowning his sorrows in late-morning margaritas when he meets an alluring, pink-haired conwoman named Chloe. With her gang of technopirate friends, Chloe helps Paul not only take revenge on his former employers, but also extort a small fortune from them in the process. What more could a recently unemployed, over-worked videogame designer in Silicon Valley ask for?

In return for Chloe's help, Paul agrees to create counterfeit comic books for one of her crew's criminal schemes. In the process he falls in for their fun loving, drug fueled "off the grid" lifestyle almost as fast as he falls head over heels for Chloe. Wary of the Crew's darker side, but eager to impress both the girl and the gang, Paul uses his game design expertise to invent a masterful con of his own. If all goes according to plan, it will be one for the ages. But can he trust any of them, or is he the one who's really being conned?

Inspired by author Rick Dakan's own eventful experiences in the videogame and comic book industries, Geek Mafia, satisfies the hunger in all of us to buck the system, take revenge on corporate America, and live a life of excitement and adventure.  

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geek mafia

Geek Mafia Bomb T-shirt

For all geeks everywhere (and all those who love Rick Dakan's book, or the off the grid lifestyle, or even just the dangerously cute bombo), this black American made T shirt is for you, with a small red graphic across the front and a full size ‘classic’ Eric Drooker logo on the back.

mile zeroGeek Mafia Mile Zero T-shirt

 Being a geek has never been this cool in the black American made T shirt inspired by Rick Dakan’s second novel, with a full size graphic on the front and another on the back of the ‘classic’ Eric Drooker logo.


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Interviews and Further Information

black hatTechnology and Anarchism
Anarchist News dot com

This article is inspired by the Geek Mafia series, thanks for giving us hope. It is dedicated to the anarchist hackers who have faced or will face the cold steel bars.

A few years ago a simple book came out by the name of "Recipes for Disaster" came out. It had everything in it from how to paint billboards to sexual consent and more. By the end you felt you had a new tool belt to combat the forces of capitalism and the state.

But not once in the hundreds of pages did it seriously consider technology and its impacts on the anarchist movement. and how could they? no good anarchist tactics text has. it seems that anarchists as a whole have a great grasp of how to riot but when it comes to technology and electronics we are as silly as a baby with a fork near a socket...

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black hatAMP Magazine
Aug/Sept 2008

I was able to get a short interview with the author, Rick. He himself was the creative force behind a video-game start-up (and a very successful one too), and much of what happens to Paul is based on Rick’s own life experiences during his stay in Silicon Valley. And as a Florida native, it was natural to set the second book in Key West. So my friend Gilda and I came up with a few questions for Rick…Gilda is definitely the more intellectual one as you can tell, though I wouldn’t say my only interest lies in what tattoos people have and where.  I would have definitely asked the question about living off the grid if she hadn’t! It has always been a small dream of mine…that and toppling the system...

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Book Reviews 

black hatGeek Mafia 3: Black Hat Blues; a heist novel for hackers |

Rick Dakan's third novel in his Geek Mafia, Black Hat Blues, is every bit as good as the two previous, rollicking volumes -- and shows the signs of a writer who's flexing new literary muscles with every book, getting better and better as he goes along.

The Geek Mafia premise is simple: a group of hackers have reinvented themselves as a crew of big-con grifters who use technology to exact elaborate revenge from the bastards who screw them -- and the world -- over. Oh, they pull straight-ahead cons, too; they're not philanthropists or anything. But they've got a (developing) ethic about who is and isn't fair game, and a lot of the tension in the books springs over disputes over this classing "honor among thieves" conundrum.

Black Hat Blues picks up where Mile Zero (the second volume) ended; the crew is in Key West, politicized and energized, and ready to kick ass. They decide to go after some very big game this time, a slimy DC beltway insider who richly deserves it -- but first they have to recruit some new talent from various hacker cons around America (these scenes are just fabulous, accurately portraying some of the weirdest events you'll ever attend). And things go well -- until they don't, and now the crew is in way over its head and the danger is dialled up to 11.

Clever, engaging, sexy, geeky -- Rick Dakan's independently published books are fantastic material, real heist/caper novels for the Happy Mutant set; as with the previous two volumes, the design is great (Rick's got a friend who's a great a graphic designer), but the book has an unfortunately high typo and copyedit-problem count, an occupational hazard of the self-published.

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mile zero thumbGeek Mafia: Mile Zero
410 Media

Let me tell you a story from my personal life that will illustrate what a great book Geek Mafia: Mile Zero is. While reading this book I was selling a pool table that was in the basement of my old house. I didn't know the people I sold the table to and when they arrive, I kept being really paranoid that somehow they were trying to scam me. At one point I had to go up stairs and look for some tools. When I came back downstairs, at least for a few seconds, I wondered where they might have hidden a bug or a camera. That's right. Rick Dakan is so good at creating the world where his characters live it is easy to start seeing it in your real life.

The first book Geek Mafia was among the first books that I reviewed here at 410media. We are even quoted on the jacket for Mile Zero. It is a little grammatically challenged, but I am honored to be able to hopefully get a few more people people to read one of these books.

Just like Geek Mafia, Mile Zero centers around the criminally crew of Chloe and Paul. They have now re-located to Key West where they are unexpectedly hosting a sort of summit of crews. The story begins when one of the summit attendees is found dead and it takes off from there. There are twist and turns through out the story. Nothing is what you think it is and it keeps you guessing until the end.

Just like Geek Mafia, Mile Zero checks in at a little over three hundred pages. It is a fast read, but be forewarned it just might make you a little paranoid.


mile zero thumbGeek Mafia: Mile Zero: nerdy caper novel, the sequel


I've just finished Rick Dakan's fantastic, funny, charming geek caper novel "Geek Mafia: Mile Zero," the sequel to his self-published book "Geek Mafia." Dakan's sequel is just as much fun as the first volume, a great, rollicking story of crosses, double-crosses, and triple crosses among conflicting tribes of nerd grifters who are working Key West for every penny they can take out of the island.

In Mile Zero, the crew from the first book has settled into an almost domestic existence on Key West, running a series of smart, low-grade scams, from bar-crawls to after-hours parties. Bee, the engineer, has retreated to an armored command center in their headquarters, from which she monitors the hundreds of spy-cams they've lined the streets of KW with, making it truly their town, every coming and going theirs to see. Paul and Chloe are in love, and more or less happy, and they've befriended Sandee, a hot, macha, snappy grifter who helps them run their action.

The action starts when three different Crews of grifters wash up on their shores -- one run by Winston, the charismatic ex-Weather Underground guerrilla who mentored Chloe; one run by Isaiah, a heavy operator and super-elite hacker; and a squad of drunken, intemperate surfer dudes who have grifted the whole Caribbean cruise ship industry. These folks have a major proposal for Paul, Chloe and their Crew -- but first, they have to figure out who killed the beautiful fixer who was supposed to be at the meeting.

Mile Zero is a labyrinth of twists and turnabouts, filled with charming geek humor, thoroughly likable characters, and a relentless plot that you won't be able to put down. Don't take my word for it -- it's Creative Commons licensed, and you can download the text and check it out for yourself.

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geek mafia thimb mile zero thumbGeek Mafia, and Geek Mafia Mile Zero
AMP Magazine review
Aug/Sept 2008

“In Sicily women are more dangerous then shotguns,” just as they are in Rick Dakan’s Geek Mafia series. A dangerous woman myself, it is always nice to find my peers in fiction. I admit, of course, that Chloe has pinker hair, and a few more skills then I do when it comes to conning people out of their money. I also freely admit that I have yet to pull together a complex and potentially traitorous crew of people to make a living using only our wits, or survive almost completely off the grid. She’s definitely a woman to be reckoned with, and even learn a thing or two from.

In Geek Mafia, the man achieving something of a reckoning is Paul; at first glance no more than a mild mannered comic book artist working to turn his vision into a kick-ass computer game that will make him millions. It is only when forced out of his own company that he starts to show what he is really made of, and the havoc his brains can wreck on an unsuspecting public that has too much money and too many conservative values for its own good. He falls in with Chole and her Crew; like any good thrill ride, the twists, turns and upside-down blood rush to the head quickly commence from there. There are no lawyers, but guns and money aplenty, mixed up with hot technology and hotter romance, and it’s amazing how quickly you will reach the end and ask, is there more?

The answer is yes of course, as the crew moves from the hills of Silicon Valley to the flats of Key West in Geek Mafia: Mile Zero. At least, those of the crew left standing after the mayhem of the first book.  There’s a dead body, a party that moves around but never ever ends, and four modern-day pirate crews circling each other in a very small space. You’d think that would be enough, but what I like most about this series is that it has even more. It has depth. It makes you think about how the media works, how the system works, what it would take to be a modern pirate, and what you might achieve. I like to have my summer reading stimulate all of my intellectual and emotional needs, and this one certainly did!

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book thumbGeek Mafia - awesome nerdy caper novel |

I've just finished Rick Dakan's debut self-published novel "G33k Mafia," and it was fantastic! G33k Mafia is the story of Paul Reynolds, a comic-book artist who has been forced out of the video-game company he co-founded, stabbed in the back by his partners. While drinking up his misery in a Silicon Valley bar, he meets a beautiful high-tech con artist, Chloe, who offers to help him get back at his betrayers. She introduces him to her crew of hacker con-artists, and helps him run a classic Big Con on his erstwhile partners, netting him a fortune in the process. Paul falls in with Chloe and her crew, becoming enmeshed in a series of baroque capers with a geeky twist, like forging rare comic books for sale on eBay, and on the way Paul reinvents himself as an outlaw.

The story is gripping as anything, and the characters are likable and funny and charming. I adore caper stories, and this stands with the best of them, a geeky version of The Sting.

The book is also flat-out great-looking too, the best-designed self-published book I've ever seen, thanks to Dakan's prodigious graphic design talents (he's definitely the kind of polymath that makes for excellent geekery -- he's the co-creator of City of Heroes, besides!). The entire text has been released under a Creative Commons license, so you can try before you buy, and starting today, Rick's slashed the price for the book to a mere $5 -- a real bargoon.

There's only one small niggle I have about this book and that's that it was very poorly copyedited and proofread. There's a clunker of a typo, grammatical error or malapropism on practically every page. Rick promises that this will be fixed in subsequent editions, and that he's going to get a better editor for the sequel, which he tells me he's almost finished with.

That said, this is one hell of a book. A smart publisher could do a lot worse than to get Rick under contract -- though given his smarts and marketing savvy, he may not want such a thing.

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