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by Hugh Holton

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86763-8
Publisher: Forge

Chief of Detectives Larry Cole is a dedicated law-and-order man, but in his Chicago—the year is 2004—keeping the lid on is never a simple matter. And now, suddenly, in his seventh adventure (Red Lightning, 1998, etc.), Chief Cole has a she-devil to contend with. Literally. She goes by the name of Abo-Yorba, “the shape-shifter,” and the shape she shifts into is monstrous and lethal. The shape she shifts out of, on the other hand, belongs to “stunningly beautiful” TV reporter Orga Syriac. Actually, this is a monster less to be feared than admired, as Chief Cole discovers. Clued in by African legend, he learns it’s only injustice that converts Abo-Yorba into a killing machine. And that’s where the noxious Human Development Institute comes in, a group headed by malevolently maniacal Dr. Goldman, who’s never so happy as when he’s murdering in mass. The why of this homicidal bent is probably best ascribed to innate evil since it’s never otherwise explained. Also among the innately evil are Jack Carlisle, master fixer and exploiter; Philo Coffey, villainous politician; and Thomas Kelly, who likes to pretend he’s a priest so that he can more readily murder real ones. HDI’s mission is to start a war somewhere, preferably one in which the fatality lists will be striking. Abo-Yorba’s is to seize and destroy HDI—while overworked, overmatched Chief Cole scurries about desperately seeking a way to keep Chicago his kind of town. Clumsy prose, comic-book characters, the art of storytelling mashed into pulp. (Author tour)