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REMOTE CONTROL by Stephen White

REMOTE CONTROL

By Stephen White

Pub Date: April 14th, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-94269-6
Publisher: Dutton

 An unexpected role for clinical psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory's wife, Boulder County Deputy D.A. Lauren Crowder: This time she isn't going after bad guys (Higher Authority, 1994), but trying to keep the cops from jailing her for shooting a mysterious stalker. White starts off with two bangs. First, Emma Spire watches in horror as her Surgeon General father is killed by an indignant right-to-lifer; then, after a leap of two years, Lauren, who's taken Emma under her wing as an intern, fires a shot at a threatening intruder at Emma's place. Weaving back and forth in time, White alternates scenes of Lauren's cop friends rapidly turning on her, duly shocked that she'd lawyer herself up if she has nothing to hide, with flashbacks showing an attempted kidnapping that explains why Emma, already a media darling in the ugliest way possible, is so terrified of strangers. But it's Emma's new lover, computerized-prosthesis wizard Ethan Han, who's hiding the scariest secret of all: a software package that records physical sensations with such uncanny accuracy that when a CD-ROM enshrining his feelings during a marathon lovemaking session with Emma is stolen, she cries to Lauren and Alan: ``I am about to become shareware.'' Did the kidnappers return to rape a virtual Emma? Did Kevin Quirk, the smitten former Secret Service bodyguard Emma begged to help her, turn on her instead? Or did Ethan himself only claim the disk was stolen? Adept as White is at spinning out the criminal possibilities, the real fun here is watching Lauren, secretly afflicted by MS and nearly blinded by optic neuritis, surround herself with a formidable battery of doctors and lawyers that will keep cops and prison at bay while her more mobile allies comb the snowy crime scene for the evidence she prays will clear her. Nonstop injections of adrenaline make this White's finest hour, even if the main action lasts only a single night. Only the cluttered denouement is a letdown. (First printing of 100,000; author tour)