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by Donna Andrews
Prime Crime, May 2003
304 pages
ISBN: 0425188566

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Being a sentient Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP) is very hard, as Turing Hopper has found out. She has to have human helpers who keep getting themselves killed off and she must learn how to figure out if any of the other AIPs in the Universal Library (UL) computer system are becoming sentient themselves. The chess playing AIP, KingFischer appears to be sentient, but since he has the personality of a chess master, Turing isn't sure.


In YOU'VE GOT MURDER, the first book in the series, her helpers, Maude Graham, a 55 year old executive assistant to the vice president of UL, and Tim Pincoski, who worked in the copy room of the same company, had to build a body so Turing could leave the safety of the UL computer and find the murderer of her programmer. She went back into the UL system but has never been sure she didn't leave bits of herself somewhere else.

Now, Tim has been a PI for 6 months, and Maude has set up Alan Grace, a company designed to give Turing Hopper a new home when she decides to leave the confines of UL. Maude had hired Ray Santiago to build a new body for Turing. Ray, a very private person, had turned Tim on to a game called Beyond Paranoia. One night, Tim gets so involved in the game that he misses an appointment with Ray, which proves to be fatal to Ray.

The police treat the murder as a mugging or a drug deal gone bad. After all, why else would an Hispanic be in that neighborhood at that hour otherwise. Ray's PDA and laptop have disappeared and Maude fears an attack on Turing may be imminent. Tim goes to Miami to try and find out more about Ray's background, since he seems to be a cipher. He learns that Ray has taken the name of a Cuban accountant and has given the address of a service station as his previous residence. While in Miami, Tim meets Claudia Diaz, a PI who gets him out of a scary situation. Later, when Maude needs help in DC, Claudia comes on board as part of the team. The finale of the book is a LARP (live action role playing) game within the confines of Crystal City.

Andrews has once again made her protagonist more than just a voice inside a computer. Turing Hopper is a well rounded creature with feeling and doubts. And KingFischer may also be changing into another thinking, reasoning personality. But Turing must stop losing programmers or she will never be able to get into her new body at Alan Grace.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2003

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