by Joe Quirk ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 1, 1998
A profane, slangy, ludicrously violent ""roller punk"" thriller that's as uneven as the slippery San Francisco streets, sewers, and cyberspace it revels in. With a tattoo of Ralph Waldo Emerson on one shoulder and a boa constrictor in his parlor, Chet Griffin is a sex-starved slacker addicted to sugar highs and the heartstopping adrenalin thrills derived from sleepless nights of computer hacking and restless days as the city's only in-line skating message courier. His low-paying, high-anxiety job helps him forget his crack-addicted tattoo-artist younger brother Bobby, his dead parents, his supersuccessful, wheelchair-bound, software-genius roommate Denny, and their bass-playing lesbian skateboard punk queen chum, Ho Chi Minh Pixie, with whom Griffin is hopelessly infatuated. When first-novelist Quirk stays on the street with his breezily insouciant cast of postmodern, fin-de-siÃ©cle bohemians, his narrative sputters along with hilariously manic Hunter Thompson--like word-spray. But, alas, the plot must thicken: Griffin's sleazy boss, Mel Corlini (his sister is an equally sleazy police lieutenant), starts paying him under the table to run computer discs between a prestigious investment-banking firm and a group of Chinese and Italian crack smugglers. Griffin asks no questions until a fellow courier is gunned down in the financial district by a platoon of Armani-clad hoodlums named after Star Trek characters. Griffin's own escape is followed by a absurd rooftop-to-BART-stop--chase, the first of many minutely choreographed cinematic action scenes wholly lacking in menace. A kinky romance blossoms between Griffin and Ho as Griffin applies his hacker skills in playing far too many bad guys (including a sadistic cyber-smasher named MP Phred) against one another. Newcomer Quirk's feverish plotting runs away with an otherwise funny, stylish tale of overeducated, underappreciated, urban bottom-dwellers using youthful stamina and high-tech toys to befuddle a dull, grown-up world.
Pub Date: April 1, 1998
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998
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