The Masakado Lesson

William P. Kennedy, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-312-51893-6
In this novel of secret computer skullduggery, Kennedy (Code Conquistador neatly packages computer science, introduces a few good actors and punches all the right buttons until some bugs short-circuit the whole program. Fueling the action is a race for computer supremacy, as American and Japanese groups each try to build the supercomputer that will signal domination. Led by an obsessed genius, the Japanese are on the verge of victory. Attempting to stymie their success is an appealing team: Toole, an ex-con who robs banks over computer lines, Karen Albert, a beautiful computer scientist, and mysterious Mr. Cobb, an apparent government agent with high connnections. Their sabotage plan, involving poker, seduction and sophisticated code-cracking, is turned upside down by deceit and double-dealing at every turn. While most of the early action is well-paced and entertaining, as it nears its climax, the book begins to fizzle instead of bubble. (March 31)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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