Someone has discovered the ultimate in copy
protection. Try to break into a programs code and a demonic face appears
on your monitor, inviting you to pay or have your face ripped off. And if
you don't pay... Following a bloody trail of corpses with missing faces,
the police are baffled, and one Boston detective, Mike Baldwin, decides to
break with tradition. He calls on an old friend, Pam Whitby, who, with
Kevin McKinley, runs a computer security and witchcraft consulting firm.
What ensues is a
hair-raising hit and run battle with a
black mage of extraordinary powers, who can unless demons and send spells
via telephone. In addition to his plans to use computer games to find
sacrifices, their opponent seems to have a personal axe to grind as well.
While Kevin is an accomplished magician on his own, he is completely
outclassed by this master, and the team must rely on their wits to
overcome their disadvantage.
The action involves everything from
inter-dimensional travel to counter-espionage in a unique mix of hi-tech
and dark magic. T. G. Browning's primary emphasis is the action, of
course, but the author fills in the spaces with quick dialog and enough
character development to hold the reader's attention in the infrequent
lulls between face rippings and house meltings.
This turned out to be a better story than I
had any right to expect. As the first volume of a proposed trilogy, this
bodes well for future reading.