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Paul McAuley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Feb 2007
A teenage girl, naked and badly injured, is discovered by two fisherman in mountain forest in Macabee County, Oregon. Before lapsing into a coma, she asks for someone called Billy, and dies before reaching hospital. The dead girl is identified as Edie Collier, last known to be living on the streets of Portland after quarrelling with her mother. That's how Summer Zeigler, a newly qualified police detective in the Portland Police Bureau gets involved: she arrested Edie for shoplifting six months before. Then the body of Edie's boyfriend, Billy, turns up in the Nevada desert. His manner of death, a wound caused by a crossbow bolt and the removal of his heart and eyes, links him to several other murders. Summer's investigations will lead her to the strange mansion of software millionaire Dirk Merrit, who made his fortune from a computer role-playing game known as Trans. But cyberspace is no longer enough to fulfil Merritt's grotesque fantasies. He wants to play a real-life version of his game. A game with deadly consequences ...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743276183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743276184
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,176,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and an anthology of stories about popular music, which I co-edited with Kim Newman. My fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.

Before I went over to the dark side and became a full-time writer, I worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University. My chief research interest was symbioses between unicellular algae and coelenterates, including green hydra, sea anemones, and reef-forming corals. I'm still a huge fan of all things to do with science, and spend too much time tweeting about weird and wonderful stuff as UnlikelyWorlds; Time magazine listed me as one of their top 140 most interesting tweeters in 2013.

I live in North London, and haven't yet walked down every street in the A-Z. But I'm trying.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul McAuley has worked as a researcher in biology at various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in plant science at St Andrews University. His first novel won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and his fifth the Arthur C. Clarke and the John W. Campbell Awards. He lives in North London. Visit the author's website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling and fun 30 Dec 2006
A change of pace from the ever reliable McAuley: an enthralling police procedural. McAuley's recent thrillers - Mind's Eye, White Devils - have been sui generis page-turners with dazzling prose style and the author proves no less adept turning his hand to a more familiar genre. As ever, McAuley's characters are the standout features here, coming to vibrant and utterly believable life. Very highly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Competent Police Procedural, but why? 13 Mar 2010
Paul McAuley is better known as a writer of intelligent science fiction, so this is a departure for him.

As a police procedural, it works well. He has created a likeable heroine, a suitably grotesque villian and vicious sidekick, a reasonably intriguing scenario and assorted supporting cast. The plot, involving on-line gaming in part, moves at a fair pace (after a slow start) and comes to an appropriately complicated denoument. The book is worth a read.

But, I have to wonder why he bothered. As an exercise in the genre? The whole thing feels as if he deliberately set out to take absolutely all the standard cliches of police procedurals and prove he could fit them together. The heroine came into police work after trying other things and has been promoted to detective early; she has a conveniently out-of-sight but not out-of-mind ex-boyfriend, and a fling with a character who could be recurring if required. She teams up with a fiesty single mum cop, and then another one. She has a kooky mother with an interest in police work (mercifully, this one doesn't pack a .45 and crash viewings in funeral parlours). She has a gruff but understanding boss, but comes up against a smalltown redneck sherrif. The villian is grotesque to the point of caricature and the vicious sidekick is, inevitably, ex-Special Forces (and a Brit). Much of the action takes place in spooky backwoods.

Several British SF writers have tried their hand at police novels recently, Charles Stross, China Melville and Ken McLeod (although MacLeod cheats, because "Night Sessions" is also an SF book). Did they get together at a convention and dare each other o write a cop novel?
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