DEATH QUALIFIED by Kate Wilhelm

DEATH QUALIFIED

A Mystery of Chaos
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another heaven-storming hybrid of mystery and fantasy from veteran Wilhelm (Cambio Bay; Sweet, Sweet Poison, etc.): What's the link between a powerful mind-altering computer program and two murders in the Oregon woods? Seven years ago Lucas Kendricks deserted his young family and took off for mathematician Emil Frobisher's research project in Colorado. Now, after one day's warning--he ordered a monster computer to be sent to his old address--he's back, and then, moments later, he's dead, along with a young woman he gave a lift to only a few hours before. The police think Lucas raped and killed the hitchhiker and was shot down by his tiny, sharpshooting wife Nell; but defense attorney Barbara Holloway, needled by her estranged father into coming back to him and the law (she'd been on the run from both for five years after a dose of professional disillusionment) is convinced that Lucas's death had more to do with the mysterious men who followed him from Colorado. Taking on her share of clichÇs--alliance with her curmudgeonly, reluctantly supportive father; opposition from prosecutor/former lover Tony DeAngelo; romance with mathematician Mike Dinesen (whom she's called in to make sense of the connections Lucas had with Frobisher, psychiatrist Ruth Brandywine, and computer expert Walter Schumaker)--Barbara delves into those blank seven years, and comes up with answers that are even scarier than the questions: a set of the most user-unfriendly computer disks in literature. What does all this have to do with Lucas's murder? Not enough, unfortunately: the mixture of metaphysical fractals, courtroom drama, psychological thrills, and formal detection never quite jells. But the audacious scope of Wilhelm's cosmic riddling may spoil you for mysteries that merely ask whodunit.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-05853-5
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991




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