by Stephen J. Cannell ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1996
From veteran TV writer Cannell (The Plan, 1995), an unsuccessful psychothriller that reads like a hodgepodge of recent blockbusters in the genre. Cannell's TV experience seems both an advantage and a disadvantage here: His dialogue is quick and limber, but his characters are imported directly from central casting. Leonard Land, a multipersonality serial killer, shifts unpredictably between ""The Rat,"" a feckless killer, and ""The Wind Minstrel,"" a pseudo-religious guru. Leonard is a slightly atypical freakazoid evil genius, close to seven feet tall, hairless, sheet-white, and a wizard in cyberspace, where his pals include the lead singer of a Death Metal band. With his copious online talents, Leonard is almost impossible to catch. Unless, that is, you've got a felonious ace up your sleeve, which is what US Customs agent John Lockwood and his inadvertent sidekick, the babe genius criminal shrink Dr. Karen Dawson, have in the person of Malavida Chacone. Imprisoned--by Lockwood--for his illicit computer hacking, Chacone is the only one who can crack through Leonard's cyberspace world, leaving the head games to Karen and the heavy lifting to Lockwood. Leonard's twisted plan involves killing women and sawing off part of their bodies, which he then refrigerates in a salvaged garbage barge. Lockwood, naturally, has screwed up his marriage, and the hunt for Leonard becomes personal when Chacone accidentally clues Leonard in to the whereabouts of Lockwood's estranged wife and daughter. Leonard kills the wife, and Lockwood vows revenge. A series of late-book plot convolutions temporarily disable both Chacone and Lockwood, placing Karen squarely in harm's way and setting up a moderately suspenseful conclusion. It's hard to believe that Cannell came up with a character as compelling as TV's Jim Rockford. An unrelenting string of cyberbabble does not distract from his second novel's most serious problem: We've seen all this before.
Pub Date: July 1, 1996
Page Count: 416
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996
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