RogerBW's Blog

Click Here for Murder, Donna Andrews 08 December 2014

2003 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant software, has just lost a friend and employee: he's been murdered. The police reckon it was random drug-related violence; she tries to find out more.

There's much less setup and speculation on the nature of AI here than in You've Got Murder, and much more detection. Which is a bit of a shame, because I can get detection from lots of authors, but interesting philosophy is rarer. However, this is clearly a series entry rather than a first book (and definitely not a good place to start).

Perhaps with an eye to a standard mystery audience, RPGs (on-line, pencil and paper, and LARP) and paintballing need to be explained in detail. (EverQuest had been running for four years by 2003, and when I went paintballing some years earlier nobody seemed to need to explain it.) There's a certain amount of "RPGs are for losers" moralising, though it's kept largely in check.

Characters continue to be interesting if lightly sketched. KingFischer's promised evolution at the end of the first book is effectively ignored, the principal humans Tim and Maude go on much as before though Maude gets the better of the writing and more character development (Tim has an ongoing crisis of confidence which doesn't make him any more interesting to read about), and Turing herself is rather too busy with the business at hand to deal with any larger implications. The villains don't entirely work for me, being a bit too simplistic, and the ending is something of a cliffhanger. Overall, it's weaker than the first book but still rewarding.

Followed by Access Denied.

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