by Bruce Jones ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 1, 1998
A derivative woman-in-periler pits a mad computer hacker against a former federal agent whose hobby is marathon running. John Handler, the cool psychokiller identified as ""the tall man,"" is a really bad guy: Not only does he murder an innocent FBI staffer in Washington and asphyxiate a lonely San Diego lady with a kiss, but he also apparently blows up the feckless cat belonging to beautiful, divorced, guilt-ridden ex-ATF agent Jeni Starbuck. Things turn even worse when it begins to look as if the shadowy Handler is not just a psychotic thug but the pyrotechnic assassin known as the Solobomber. Starbuck, who left the ATF after the Waco/Branch Davidian holocaust, lost her daughter Molly in what she believes was a revenge bombing, and, when she isn't marathon-running, works off her guilt at a children's AIDS hospice. She can't figure out why, of all the beautiful women in the world, Handler plies her, and her alone, with intimate statements about herself (spoken with the tedious, aristocratic prolixity of a James Bond villain), with news that her daughter may be alive, and with sadistic challenges requiring her to run to specific San Diego locales within a set number of minutes to prevent him from blowing them up. This fourth thriller from Jones (Maximum Velocity, 1996, etc.) is set in a near future where most people calculate, communicate, and entertain with computers equipped with the Sprinter 9000 chip. It takes Jeni a little too long to figure out, after a Walkman-size Sprinter 9000 computer arrives unsolicited at her doorstep, that the chip holds the secret of Handler's power. But with the help of FBI agent Paul Miller, she unmasks Handler, puts guilt behind her, admits her interest in Miller--and even gets her cat back. An unsurprising assembly of genre clichÆ’s.
Pub Date: May 1, 1998
Page Count: 336
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998
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