Just because you’re an Artificial Intelligence Personality doesn’t mean that moving isn’t as traumatic as it is for your human counterparts. When programmer Tim Pincoski, secretary Maude Graham, and systems engineer Ray Santiago—the friends of Turing Hopper, the AIP of Universal Libraries—create the Alan Grace Corporation as a partnership that will keep her secure, she can’t help worrying that the uploads and downloads necessary to shift her from UL to AG will corrupt her files or compromise her security. But not even Turing’s gigabytes predict the troubles she’ll see when Ray is killed in an apparently random mugging in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and his laptop computer stolen. The threats to Turing’s integrity and safety become even more alarming when Ray turns out to be an unknown who assumed the identity of a South Florida accountant for reasons Turing can only imagine. Tim, who’s studying to be a private eye, and the more level-headed Maude launch an investigation that turns up Ray’s complete lack of history or connections except for Nestor Garcia, who claims rather improbably to be Ray’s uncle—and obsessive gamesters like El Lobo and the Nameless Horror immersed in a tricky, violent computer simulation called Beyond Paranoia and its deadly live-action counterpart. Both human and AI detectives seem sadly overmatched until a denouement that reveals how closely they depend on each other to survive.
Apart from that inspired final revelation, Turing’s second case isn’t up to her inventive debut (You’ve Got Murder, 2002). But the final fadeout promises her fans a challenging third installment.