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Dave Zeltserman, Serpent's Tail, $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-84668-732-7

Zeltserman's tale of a botched bank robbery lacks the bite of his best noir work like Small Crimes and Pariah. Massachusetts software engineer Dan Wilson, who's hit hard times and just learned he's losing his eyesight, joins three other unemployed programmers in a desperate scheme. A glitch in a bank's security system will allow the four to pull off a heist during a time when the silent alarm signal won't reach the police. Predictably, things don't go as planned, and the resulting murder ups the stakes for the robbers, who begin to turn against each other. Since the safety deposit boxes they looted were the property of a vicious Russian thug, Wilson and his co-conspirators have more than the police to worry about. Some readers may wish the author had done a better job of making Wilson's transformation from computer geek to armed robber persuasive. (Feb.)