After a fine debut, The Leeshore (1987), Reed moves into near-future cyberpunk with this imaginatively detailed but ploddingly familiar stew of pursuit, revenge, and double-dealing over women and money. Steward, expert survivor, warrior and trouble-shooter, comes upon Chiffon, a Flower (android female) with the personality of a Ghost (dead person whose psyche has been electronically preserved). Enormously attractive, and an expert manipulator of her body chemistry, Chiffon tells Steward a plausible pack of lies, and soon--zapped by her pheromones--he's willing to do anything for her. In fact, Chiffon has fled from her owner, criminal businessman Dirk, with a fortune in computer credit chips. (Chiffon's associates in the plot to rob Dirk have all been captured or killed, hence her need for Dirk's protection.) Meanwhile, in the same apartment building as Steward, megalomaniac outcast Jovian Toby and cyborg Venusian miner Gabbro carry on a not-so-harmless feud that, coincidentally, results in exposing Chiffon's whereabouts to Dirk. By this time, Chiffon has become genuinely fond of Steward, and tells him what's really going on--so Steward agrees to return most of the loot in return for Chiffon's freedom. The characters' backgrounds are distinctive and carefully worked out, as are Reed's other ideas: growing, self-repairing houses and furniture, monomolecular filiaments, and so forth. The plot, however, remains thin, obvious, and sluggish, the wobbly present tense narrative del facts, and the ambiguities that gave The Leeshore its bite are absent.