cover image A Quantum Murder

A Quantum Murder

Peter F. Hamilton / Author, R. Woodman / Author Tor Books $24.

Lots of chewy techno-detail fills this near-future British SF mystery about a brilliant and eccentric physicist who's brutally murdered in his private mansion and the group of students who idolize him and are the prime suspects in his death. Returning from Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction, psychically enhanced Greg Mandel and his sumptuous younger wife, Eleanor, are called upon to solve the bloody puzzle by their friend and benefactor, spoiled rich kid Julia Evans. Julia's company had contracts with the physicist, and it appears he may have been killed because of his connection to the company's new spaceplanes. Dangerous secrets abound as Greg and Eleanor unravel the tangled threads that inextricably link ousted political parties to the sabotage of scientific ideas and connect buried catastrophes to a captive serial killer. Hamilton clearly adores technology and science, and he packs many intelligent and highly disparate concepts into his tale, from various forms of extrasensory perception (stimulated by neurohormones) to giga-conductors, working artificial intelligences and education laser paradigms used for behavior modification. While the characters are standard SF archetypes (manly men and beautiful, brainy women), those who enjoy reading about nifty gizmos may feel, as one of Greg's old army buddies says, ""this 'ware is ultra-cool."" (Nov.)