RIFT

Richard Cox, Author . Ballantine $23.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-345-46283-1

Cox's debut techno-thriller offers a far-fetched plot, a fast-paced narrative and a well-drawn protagonist. Cameron Fisher, an unhappily married accountant for a tech corporation, NeuroStor, is about to be fired when his younger boss offers him a one-time opportunity: participate in a high-risk scientific project for the company and receive $5 million. Cameron agrees, as much for the adventure as for the money. The project will theoretically permit near-instantaneous human transport; and sure enough, 45 minutes after he enters a booth at corporate HQ in Houston, Cameron emerges from another at the Phoenix office. Told to stick around for a couple of days, he meets his best friend, Tom. They go to a strip club where he is watched by two men and meets a dancer, Crystal, who somehow knows as much about the project he is participating in as he does. When the men follow Cameron and Tom to a golf course that same afternoon, he knows something is up; when they start shooting, the murder and espionage– packed plot kicks into overdrive. With the exception of the protagonist, whose backstory is astutely related, the characters are one-dimensional (evil corporate execs, stripper with apparent heart of gold, cranky computer expert). Cox has enough natural storytelling skill to keep his audience hooked, but the innumerable twists and turns test the reader's patience. Teleportation is just the starting point for a constantly morphing techno plot that even Matrix fans might find strained. Agent, Matt Bialer. (July)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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