DEVIL'S PLAYTHING by Matt Richtel

DEVIL'S PLAYTHING

KIRKUS REVIEW

Great news! Your grandmother doesn’t have Alzheimer's; her memory is being killed off by a nefarious computer program.

Between posting medical blogs at $60 a pop and coupling with his boss, editor Pauline Sanchez, in her office, San Francisco journalist Nat Idle is one busy guy. So he doesn’t have much time to spend visiting his grandmother over at Magnolia Manor. If he did, maybe he’d notice that she’s spending quite a bit of time online answering questions for the Human Memory Crusade while she still has memories to record. Every day, a computerized voice asks Elana Liza (Lane) Idle, 85, about her early life. Neither Lane nor Nat observes two baneful effects of the probing questions: She’s sharing an awful lot of personal information with a disembodied voice that assures her she can trust the Crusade to keep her private information private till after she’s dead; and her memory loss is accelerating dramatically. Nat’s previous work history (Hooked, 2007) should certainly make him suspicious. But not until he and his mother, out for a walk during one of his infrequent visits, are shot at by someone who escapes in a Prius does he realize that she’s in danger and that the mysteriously encrypted flash drive he’s received from a computer researcher who insists on meeting with him and then doesn’t show up for the rendezvous has something to do with it.

The manic cloak-and-dagger business is no more convincing than the is-he-or-isn’t-he suspects who seem to be dogging Nat’s every move. But the relationship between him and his spunky, fading grandmother rings true.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59058-887-1
Page count: 342pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011




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