Matt Demming's never been able to keep his play separate from his work. Now Astra Software's flaky lead programmer, angered at his partner Ari Kazacos's refusal to draw up formal partnership papers, has skedaddled with the source code he developed for Astra's first game, Cult of Blood, and Kazacos is frantic to recover it. Even after Matt's found dead in the Baylands's Byxbee Park, Kazacos wants p.i. Catherine Sayler (Lethal Genes, 1996, etc.) to stay on the case. What makes Matt's murder especially creepy is the manner of his death: He was drained of blood by a puncture in his neck that looks just like the vampire bite favored by his playmates in the Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) game that provided a break from his work at Astra. Was Matt killed by an envious or greedy Astra associate, or--as anti-LARP activist Rev. Thomas Seaton and clueless Patrolman George Prizer insist--by one of the pretend vampires he spent his nights with? The disappearance of Chloe Dorn, the teenaged LAMPer who was with Matt minutes before he died, gives an extra edge to the case--and a dozen new ways the investigation can go wrong. Much solid background on role-playing games on and off the keyboard, as you'd expect from Grant, though the mystery is negligible and all the characters, from computer geeks to tattooed teen goths to self-righteous adult activists, are a little too simply themselves.