cover image Night Vision

Night Vision

Ronald Munson. Dutton Books, $21.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93781-4

In Fan Mail Munson cleverly integrated the use of electronic devices into a chilling thriller. His latest suspense tale, however, has few real chills, since it is sabotaged by a combination of lukewarm action scenes, a recycled plot and a generic villain. The antagonist in question is Tom Gibson, aka Cyberwolf, a computer hacker with an unfortunate attraction to dead bodies. He is also obsessed with actress Susan Bradstreet, who has suffered a nervous breakdown that brings her to the UCLA hospital where Cyberwolf's friend works. The doctor attending Susan is David Hightower, a former surgeon who has become a psychiatrist following a tragic accident. When Susan flies to a Boston psychiatric institute, Cyberwolf and friends follow, taking her and other patients hostage. Hightower pursues her, determined to stop the doomsday computer program initiated by Cyberwolf. With all the cerebral powers available to his main characters, Munson makes a puzzling choice: Cyberwolf and Hightower battle on a mostly physical level, an arena to which neither seems suited. Despite his electronic wizardry, Cyberwolf comes off as a garden-variety psycho, one so incompetent as to leave the novel few chances for suspense. (Mar.)