SPYDER WEB by Tom Grace

SPYDER WEB

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KIRKUS REVIEW

First-time author Grace delves into the world of industrial espionage in a spirited if clunky technothriller about the race to control the world's latest computer hacking device. The prize is the Spyder, a gadget that will allow its master to invade computer networks, steal information, then disappear without a trace. Two spies-for-hire, former KGB agent Alexandra Roe and money-man Ian Parnell, manage to swipe a Spyder from a company that's making them for the CIA. Lurking just off-screen is the Chinese government, which tries to use both muscle and money to obtain the Spyder from Roe and Parnell. The CIA, meanwhile, struggles to foil the deal. The agency eventually calls on the expertise of Nolan Kilkenny, a computer expert and Navy SEAL just home from a hush-hush assassination mission in Haiti. Kilkenny, a bland, all-too-earnest, techno-speaking hero, quickly finds himself overmatched by the computer gymnastics of Roe and Parnell, who are controlling the Spyder from an unknown location and using it to steal trade secrets from the Chrysler Corp.'s computer system. Kilkenny also has to fight off a couple of murder attempts by Chinese agent Kang Fa, who's drawn in the grand tradition of Asian villains. Through some savvy cyber-detective work, and thanks to lots of handy coincidences, Kilkenny leads the American government to Roe and Parnell's London hideout. The finale, taking place in the depths of the murky Thames, offers an exciting close to an otherwise all-too-predictable story. Originally self-published and distributed in the Detroit area, where Grace works as an architect: a first effort that puts the right pieces in play, but moves them around without flair.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1999
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Warner