A rare combination of soft-boiled hero, gut-churning crime, official puritanism, and commercial arrogance, whose chilling,...



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.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-765-30392-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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