cover image Halfhead


Stuart B. MacBride. Harper Voyager (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN

Surgery aimed at rendering the offender harmless has replaced capital punishment in MacBride's effective if gory futuristic crime thriller set in Scotland. The procedure, which removes half the subject's head, leaves the criminal docile and capable of carrying out menial jobs. William Hunter, at 32, the youngest ever assistant section director of a super police force known as the Network, is trying to find out who killed Allan Brown, a vicious serial killer who targeted "halfheads." As he goes about his investigation, Hunter is unaware that he's being stalked by a halfhead killer he earlier brought to justice, Dr. Fiona Westfield. MacBride (Shatter the Bones) populates his universe with details that help maintain the suspension of disbelief (e.g., Hunter's college degree was in Unauthorized Data Access) and there's more than enough material, for those with strong stomachs, to justify a sequel. (June)