The problem with writing Sci-fi set in the near future, is that when that near future looms closer, people are more inclined to pick holes in the future world predicted and described. And that's part of the problem with this book. Kerr paints a bleak view of the world which has arguably already come to pass (he wrote this in 1992) and so it seems old fashioned before its time. But I could forgive the book these problems if the rest of it was any good. But it wasn't. The characters were roughly sketched out with little panache or skill and played out their roles strictly by the numbers. Cardboard characters would have had more allure and would probably have made a better fist of the lumpen plot exposition. Put it this way, I could sense the endgame and denouement from about a third in - not good for a detective story intended to keep one glued. And as for the monologues... ! This seems to be a Kerr trademark and IMHO is one he should leave to others with more capability. I won't give it one star, as that would be too demeaning when one remembers that this was probably his first effort and how was he to know how his sci-fi bits would date so badly, but a higher rating cannot be offered when everything else is just a waste of paper and talent. Wet Sunday afternoons only !! You've been warned.