INTRUDER by Louis Charbonneau


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Even if you're willing to accept Charbonneau's premise of a city entirely dependent on a single centralized computer system, this is a thin and contrived read-out of over-programmed suspense. Someone (""The Intruder"") has somehow gained access to the computer terminals, codes, and such that control police, traffic, hospitals, utilities, etc., in the burg of Hollister. And he's on a rampage of feeding misinformation into the system: payroll checks come out wrong, traffic lights go haywire (with fatal results), false crime records ruin reputations, fire alarms are misdirected, a paper plant's production is fouled up. . . . And then The Intruder demands five million bucks or else--shutting off the power at the county hospital just as an example. Can Regional Data Center security chief Mike Egan and his computer-wise gal figure out who The Intruder is and how to stop him? Add a gratuitous college-campus rapist and a showdown in which The Intruder's ludicrous motivation is revealed, and--despite the general inoffensiveness and a few specks of intriguing technology--it's impossible not to be reminded of the computer credo: GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday