A Philosophical Investigation

Philip Kerr, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $20 (329p) ISBN 978-0-374-23176-7
Semantics, epistemology and serial murder share center stage in this imaginative but unconvincing near-future thriller. The year is 2013, and European researchers have discovered a physiological basis for violent criminal tendencies in men. The Lombroso program in Britain screens possible subjects and maintains a database of those diagnosed with the condition, as aids to law enforcement--serial killings have become terrifyingly common. When a previously law-abiding pharmacist is diagnosed as ``VDM-negative'' (potentially dangerous), he breaks into the program's computer system, removes his name from the records and begins systematically assassinating other men on the list. In London, Chief Inspector Isadora ``Jake'' Jakowicz takes on the case and begins a philosophical cat-and-mouse game with the killer, code-named Wittgenstein. Kerr ( A German Requiem ) interpolates passages from the murderer's journals into the third-person narrative, along with citations from the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and other philosophers. But the cliches and improbabilities of the plot are not camouflaged by their outlandish context, as Kerr overplays his most original ideas, delivering the details of his futuristic vision in a distracting gee-whiz manner. The frequent philosophical discussions, as they are drawn out, become less convincing and more ostentatious. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Show other formats
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-7704-2592-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-385-25456-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-452-27140-1
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-0-14-311753-7
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-40423-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.