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Mama always said that two wrongs don’t make a right. So why does Roy Chadwick think he can make the world a better place by killing off those mean-spirited individuals whose inveterate meddling poisons the lives of everyone around them? Sure, his Program, a probabalistic computer model, predicts with uncanny accuracy which folks will find their happiness trashed by the “psychic vampires”—as Roy calls them—whose “innocent” remarks and “helpful” hints breed dissension between lovers, spouses, and friends. What it doesn’t predict is the mayhem touched off when computer upstart Willis Spencer hijacks the Program for his and his wife Virginia’s private amusement. Setting off on a regional spree, the happy couple pull outrageous but nonlethal pranks on nasties throughout the great state of Texas, punctuated by conjugal romps in a string of no-tell motels. But the Spencers, less experienced than Roy, are easily tracked by FBI agent William Mondragon and ex-FBI agent Abel Salazar—both a few beans short of a burrito—whose single-minded pursuit of Chadwick leads them to a collision course with the Spencers and with each other. Blackmail, kidnapping, and a zillion double-crosses bring the lovebirds to the brink of computer-generated disaster when Chadwick uses their pranks as a tool to escape the seductive power of his own invention.

Okay, so two wrongs don’t really make a right. But two endless honeymooners pursued by two obsessive Feds, a passel of pranks, and an out-of-control computer genius make the latest from Webb (The Double, 1999, etc.) a hilarious joyride into cosmic chaos.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-26582-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2000