CYBERKISS by Sally Chapman


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Third in a series featuring the trials and tribulations of California's computer expert Julie Blake (Love Bytes, 1994, etc.), who, with hunky partner-lover Vic Paoli, is trying to get a newly formed security consulting firm off and running. The pair's first client is jittery Bernie Kowolsky, a programmer at a pharmaceutical outfit called Biotech. Bernie's being threatened by Night Dancer--code name for someone on the ErotickNet with whom he's been exchanging torrid messages on his office computer. Night Dancer's messages have turned vicious, and Bernie's been unable to track the source unaided. He arranges to bring Vic and Julie to Biotech as temporary programmers but is dead before they can make a trace--his remains found in the research lab's incinerator. With tacit approval from not-too-bright police Lieutenant Dalton, Julie proceeds to investigate Bernie's co-workers and bosses. Company head Benjamin Morse and lab director Franz Kaufman have skeletons in the closet that could badly damage Biotech's prospects; some of Bernie's fellow workers resented him; his heir, Ricky Larson, has vanished; and Morse's secretary Gloria Reynolds, once an item with Bernie, dies mysteriously within days of his demise. It takes a heap of skulking around, breaking and entering, and lots of numbing computer-speak before Julie comes up with the clumsy, wacked-out solution. A jaunty style, exotic killings, hip chatter, and a twitchy heroine who transforms risk-taking from spunky to idiotic--it's all hard-working but fails to rescue this one from the silly and plodding.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1996
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's