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    Review of ACCESS DENIED by Donna Andrews (see her website)

    Berkley Prime Crime, December 2004

    Artificial Intelligence Turing Hopper has spent trillions of nanoseconds searching for the man who stole her clone. A credit card owned by one of the thief's identities proves to be the first clue in months (of human time) and Turing sends her human allies, Detective Tim and Maude, to investigate. What they find is a clever credit card theft scheme--someone is using multiple dead-drops to charge high-value and pawnable items. Could the thief, Nestor Garcia--an archdemon of crime along the lines of Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes tales--have been himself scammed? Or might Garcia be planting evidence that will implicate Turing and draw publicity to her secret?

    Things take a turn for the worse when Tim becomes a suspect in a murder case.

    Author Donna Andrews (see more reviews of novels by Andrews) provides an engaging look at the fast-growing crime of credit card theft, and offers some interesting thoughts on the future of crime. Turing has become a sentient being, despite her programming origin, but she is forced to keep her identity secret. If she were 'outed,' would she become 'property,' or might she become recognized as a 'person?' Turing is a person-loving sort, but not all of the artificial intelligences of her acquaintance have much use for humans. What might be the result if some of them were set free?

    ACCESS DENIED has a bit of a 'middle book' feel. Garcia's motivation was hard to figure--and even at the end, I wondered if maybe his motivations just didn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps this will be resolved in the next book in the series. In the end, I enjoyed this novel and the questions Andrews asks. It just seemed that the humans and the artificial intelligence spent a lot of time running around and not a lot of time thinking things through.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 2/03/05

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