cover image Trade Secrets: Introducing Nason Nichols

Trade Secrets: Introducing Nason Nichols

Maynard F. Thomson. Pocket Books, $20 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74899-9

Though briskly paced, this series launch set in Boston is marred by its overly contrived plot and a hero-sleuth whose political incorrectness gives a new meaning to the initials PI. Though he likes to cook and is a sensitive guy in some respects, Nason Nichols refuses to pay alimony to his ex-wife, who divorced him for his macho attitude. Her lawyer's threats pale, however, as Nase takes up a case involving industrial espionage and an insider stock trading scheme. An employee of Zoltech Industries, a computer chip manufacturer, steals plans for a new four-megabyte chip to sell to the Japanese competition. Wealthy, aging Armand Zoller and the chip's inventor, young Rachel Ornstein, convince Nase to steal the plans back temporarily so Rachel can alter them, keeping the theft quiet and Zoltech's rising stock safe. Nase, bothered by his conscience, soon decides to tell to the police, but then the thieving employee is murdered and Nase becomes the prime suspect. Readers, likely to guess the bad guys' identities before Nase does, will wonder why these high-tech types use hard copy and typewriters to record their latest, lengthy formulas. Despite such flaws, Thomson's fine ear for dialogue and his intriguing supporting cast hold promise for his next tale. (Jan.)