cover image Cyber Way

Cyber Way

Alan Dean Foster. Ace Books, $5.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-441-13245-4

Foster's ( Glory Lane ) talent for taking intellectual leaps into the near future is again evinced in this SF murder mystery that hinges on an understanding of ancient Navajo culture, the art of sandpainting and the secret medicine rituals known as Ways. The title alludes to the novel's central puzzle: Why was an industrialist killed, and the unusual, oddly designed sandpainting in his primitive art collection destroyed? Foster characteristically domesticates an incredible plot through the creation of commonplace heroes--in this case, an overweight police detective named Vernon Moody, whose deceptively sluggish appearance masks the determination to unravel a crime. Foster makes good use of his locales--the upper-class enclaves of Tampa, Fla., and the dry flats of Arizona's Navajo country. And although he isn't much of a stylist--the pace lags and sentences often have a stilted quality--he plays off technology and Native American tradition in a clever story. ( May )