cover image Shackled


Ray Garton. Crimeline, $5.99 (560pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29891-8

Set in California's dark underworld of sexual deviants, pornographers and sadomasochists, Garton's (Dark Channel) latest thriller is an unremittingly grim smorgasbord of child abduction, incest and torture. Bentley Noble is an embittered tabloid reporter assigned to follow the story of a missing boy. A quirky woman who communes with Liberace's ghost convinces Noble that the boy has been kidnapped by Satanists and, with the help of a young computer hacker, he breaks into the Satanist's online network. The technology here is hardly more interesting than using a telephone, but it is enough to get the book labeled a ""techno-thriller."" Only readers devoted to detailed scenes of child torture, amateurish writing and offensive language will be hooked by this. (Apr.)