Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Brain Thief-Alexander Jablokov

The Brain Thief
Alexander Jablokov
Tor, Jan 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765322005

Wealthy Muriel Inglis sends an odd message to her only employee executive assistant Bernal Haydon-Rumi. Unable to comprehend what his employer wants and why she failed to go to the art gallery as planned; although he just came home from a South Dakota business trip, Bernal rushes over to her home, but she is not there and the house looks like a cyclone came through it.

However, as he ponders what next he notices a woman he realizes is her fleeing the house in a nightgown. He chases after her, but she escapes by stealing her neighbor’s Mercedes. The vehicle’s owner prevents Bernal from following by knocking him out. When Bernal regains consciousness he notices that his car is gone, but after cleaning up in his employer’s home, he sees his car is back. Frantic for Muriel’s safety and receiving messages from her he does not understand, Bernal visits Madeline Ungaro, who is working on a space exploratory AI project Hesketh funded by Muriel and loathed by private investigator Charis Fen who warns the desperate amateur sleuth to watch his back.

Although over the top of the Black Hills, The Brain Thief is a fast-aced thriller that grips the audience from the moment Bernal receives the first odd message and never slows down as he follows clues and receives happenstance assistance to learn what is going on. Fans will enjoy accompanying Bernal and fully appreciate the irony of his sleuthing throughout the hero’s cat and mouse chase.

Harriet Klausner