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by Donna Andrews
Prime Crime, April 2002
304 pages
ISBN: 042518191X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Max Headroom and Modesty Blaise, move over, Turing Hopper is here. She's an AIP (Artificial Intelligence Personality) programmed by Zach Malone, who works for the vast corporation called Universal Library. Zach has disappeared, and Turing is worried. She enlists the aid of a 50 something executive secretary, Maude Graham and Tim Pincoski, another UL employe to help her find Zach.

Turing uses her growing sentience to search the files for Zach. She finds a clue that leads her to believe there is a conspiracy within the company to sell off the AIPs and "kill" them. Reaching into the computer network that, in one way or another, connects everyone, Turing becomes more and more human, even having her human aides, Maude and Tim, construct a crude "body" for her so she can leave the UL system before her sleuthing is discovered and she is destroyed.

I think the puzzle is more than adequate, however, the pleasure in reading this novel comes from the development of the personality of the main character, who starts as a child, with a brain the size of a planet, just becoming aware of her potential,and who grows during the adventures to become an adult, figuring out how to best use her abilities. I might note, though, that a character named Turing could have been a bit more enigmatic.

I really disliked Andrews other series. I thought that the lead character, Meg, in Murder with Peacocks, was too silly to live. She behaved a little better in Murder with Puffins, but I didn't even read Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingoes. However, in Turing Hopper, Donna has created the first true heroine of the 21st century. I will be looking forward to more of her adventures.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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