As a result of checking out a record from his local library, Jim finds himself being chased halfway across England by agents of a crime syndicate. Casey, a young runner for the ""Collective,"" has hidden an important computer disc in the record sleeve; when he goes to Jim's house to retrieve it, he and Jim get interested in the contents and accidentally erase the disc. Casey takes off like a scared rabbit, urging Jim to come with him; and after two sinister types kick down Jim's door, he joins Casey. By train and stolen car, the two make their way to refuge in an abandoned farmhouse, where they're eventually tracked down. In the course of all this, Casey kills a man, is severely beaten, and is shot twice, while Jim, who had been content in his role as typical, mildly rebellious 15-year-old, does the driving and shopping. Trapped and at wit's end, Casey concocts a desperate plan to dynamite the Collective's monthly executive session. Having kept his hands as clean as possible so far, Jim winds up crouching in the dark, match in one hand, fuse in the other, his pursuers gathered in a room a few feet away. For unexplained reasons, he doesn't set the charge off, thus leaving himself morally pure but with a very short future. End of story. Readers will enjoy the thrills, chills, and touches of humor, but the abrupt conclusion will leave them with plenty of questions.