It didn't begin with the Internet. Frank L. Packard's The Wire Devils, which the University of Minnesota reissue describes as "A Classic Mystery Novel of the American Railroad" has a band of thieves more intent on robbing trains than on blackmailing politicians or running terror rings, and yet the techniques of hijacking the network (back in the day, the railroad's Morse telegraphs) and sending coded messages are familiar. And there is enough of the atmosphere of Railroad Magazine short stories and Bedwell and Dellinger fiction to make it as much a railroad story as an early twentieth century techno-thriller. That despite author Packard being a Montreal man more familiar with the New York Central and Hudson River than with the American West in which he set it, if the place names and previous locations of the principal characters are any indication. Quick read, and a change of pace from my usual fare for Book Review No. 16.
(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)