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  • Published: 16 June 2020
  • ISBN: 9780552173711
  • Imprint: Corgi
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $19.99

The Mastermind

The hunt for the World's most prolific criminal




The extraordinary story of Paul Le Roux – one of the world’s most prolific criminals, and the embodiment of a new generation of internet-enabled kingpins – and the US government’s clandestine efforts to bring him down.

‘Meth, murder and pirates: the coder who became a crime boss. A world that lurks just outside of our everyday perception, in the dark corners of the internet we never visit’ – WiredThe Mastermind tells the incredible true story of Paul Le Roux, the frighteningly powerful creator of a twenty-first century cartel, and the decade-long global manhunt that finally brought his empire to its knees.

Le Roux’s business evolved from an online prescription drug network into a sprawling multinational conglomerate engaged in almost every conceivable aspect of criminal mayhem. All tied together with encryption programs so advanced that government agencies were unable to break them.

Tracing Le Roux’s vast wealth and his shadowy henchmen around the world, award-winning journalist Evan Ratliff spent four years piecing together this intricate network. His investigation reveals a dark parable of ambition and greed, and exposes a new age of crime in which a reclusive entrepreneur can build an empire in the shadows of our networked world.

  • Published: 16 June 2020
  • ISBN: 9780552173711
  • Imprint: Corgi
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Evan Ratliff

Evan Ratliff is an award-winning journalist and the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Atavist Magazine. As a longtime contributor to Wired, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Outside, and other magazines, he has reported from around the globe on transnational crime, sci­ence and technology, the environment, terrorism, and corruption. He is a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards, and his writing has been selected for numerous Best American collec­tions. His 2009 Wired story “Vanish,” about his attempt to disappear and the public’s effort to find him, was selected by the magazine as one of the twenty best stories in its history. He also cohosts the acclaimed Longform podcast and was a found­ing editor of Pop-Up Magazine, a live journalism event that tours the United States. He is the co-author of Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World, about innovation and counterterrorism, and the editor of the collection Love and Ruin: Tales of Obsession, Danger, and Heartbreak.

Praise for The Mastermind

With his relentless and fearless reporting, Evan Ratliff has pried open a hidden world filled with high-tech gangsters and drug kingpins and double-crossers and stone-cold hitmen. The story is as fascinating as it is terrifying, and one that will hold you in its grip.

David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z

One of the most prodigious criminal masterminds or modern times. Compelling... meticulously researched and written with a feverish intensity. A masterwork of investigative journalism.

Daily Mail

A true crime classic.

Publishers Weekly

This is a riveting, mesmerizing, absolutely bonkers story about a man as brilliant as he is villainous. You'll find yourself sucked in, freaked out, and, ultimately, blown away by Ratliff's storytelling and tireless reporting. The Mastermind is a masterpiece.

Nicholas Thompson, editor in chief, Wired

The best book I read this year. It is the insane story of an internet drug lord and the years it took to bring him down. I read this with my heart in my throat—not just because of the violence and mystery, but because it made me jealous as a journalist (how’d he find that out?) and, though it is a true story, as a novelist.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner, author of Fleishman Is in Trouble, GQ - Best Books of 2019

Darkly fascinating and truly gripping. A crazy story. Ratliff reports exhaustively and writes soberly... a brilliant book... a suitably wild parable for a digitally deranged age.

Irish Times

If truth is stranger than fiction, then The Mastermind is the truest book you’ll read this year. The only thing predictable about it is how quickly you’ll turn the pages.

Noah Hawley, author of Before the Fall and creator of the TV series Fargo

A tour de force of shoe-leather reporting — undertaken, amid threats and menacing, at considerable personal risk. Ratliff’s reportage unfolds in crisp, atmospheric prose, and he brings a dispassionate eye to a milieu lousy with unreliable narrators, triangulating where possible to separate fact from legend.

LA Times

As directors, we spend countless hours imagining heightened plots and memorable characters that will leave a lasting impression on audiences. The true tale of obsession, genius, intrigue, and vengeance detailed in The Mastermind is as gripping and cinematic as anything we could endeavor to conjure up.

Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War

A wholly engrossing story that joins the worlds of El Chapo and Edward Snowden; both disturbing and memorable.

Kirkus Reviews

The incredible story of the programmer-turned-criminal supervillain.

Vice

Meth, murder and pirates: the coder who became a crime boss. A world that lurks just outside of our everyday perception, in the dark corners of the internet we never visit, the quiet ports where ships slip in by night, the back room of the clinic down the street.

Wired

The most prolific purveyor of crime in history you’ve never heard of. His web of criminality stretches over global underworlds and across continents.

UniLad

The most successful criminal mastermind you’ve never heard of.

The Book of Man

Methodical and multi-tentacled investigation.

Strong Words

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