Near-future police thriller from the author of such significant SF yarns as The Secret of Life (2001) and the far-future Confluence Trilogy. As the UK slowly recovers from the effects of the InfoWar—electronic/computer devastation and street violence promulgated by a mysterious alliance of external terrorists and internal insurrectionists—millions of cameras connected to the smart computer system ADESS keep London completely under surveillance. John, a drunken, despairing detective, loathed and despised by many of his colleagues for apparent cowardice during the InfoWar, bears various nicknames (his fellow officers, disparaging his stature, call him “Minimum”; to his sometime girlfriend Julie, he's “Dixon,” an old-time bobby, unarmed and on foot, patrolling a community where he knows everybody). Despite being sidelined into the near-defunct police computer unit T12, he's drawn into the torture/murder of performance artist Sophie Booth, the deed done before a live Webcam by someone wearing a Margaret Thatcher mask. John suspects a previous acquaintance, the oleaginous, psychotic computer whiz Barry Deane, who unfortunately has a cast-iron alibi: in anything-goes Cuba, he was running porn Web sites (illegal in the UK) for his Maltese mafia bosses. But why did Sophie Booth's murderer strip the hard drives from her computers? What was Anthony Booth, Sophie's fabulously rich uncle and developer of the ADESS system, doing in Sophie's flat? And how could Sophie apparently vanish from ADESS's purview at will?
A rare combination of soft-boiled hero, gut-churning crime, official puritanism, and commercial arrogance, whose chilling, all-too-believable backdrop will be instantly recognized by anyone familiar with the UK's already prevalent CCTV schemes.