Operation WTF

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

The title of David Shafer's novel (Mulholland Books, $26) is the military radio phonetic spelling of that slang staple, WTF. That's fitting, because this thriller is about a small group of disaffected 30-somethings who are out to prevent a shadowy international conspiracy to put the entire Internet behind a paywall that will make its creators even richer than they already are. Shafer, a journalist, creates some outstanding characters including Leila, a nonprofit do-gooder working in Myanmar, and Mark, a self-help guru in New York who's got plenty to fix in himself. In Shafer's hands, they're as funny and as paranoid as can be, which makes this an entertaining and smart book.