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    Review of DEAD LINES by Greg Bear (see his website)

    Ballantine Books, June 2004

    From the moment his best friend dies, sexploitation filmmaker Peter Russell's life is changed. His mentor asks him to see a wise woman with a question about whether someone can continue without a soul--and Peter starts to see ghosts. A strange new telecommunications company offers to hire Peter to come up with an ad campaign for their service but he is so distracted by the ghosts and his friend's death that he has a hard time dealing with even his best job offer in years.

    The ghost of his dead daughter is the final blow. Murdered two years earlier, Daniella suddenly appears to him, talks to him. Peter gradually learns that others are seeing the ghosts. Something has changed, the way that ghosts normally operate has been disrupted. And it's up to Peter to figure out how to put things right.

    Author Greg Bear weaves a compelling story of a man's disintegration. Peter makes an interesting character with his history with women, the loss of his murdered daughter, his battle with alcohol, and his tangential relationship with reality. But even a disturbed man can see the truth and Peter is gradually forced to believe that the ghosts he sees are real--and are created by something under human control. But the ghosts are only part of the problem. Because a soulless body can be a danger to itself and everyone around it.

    DEAD LINES is a creepy near-future SF story as fresh as the telecom meltdown headlines and with the type of atmosphere that will leave you thinking for days.

    See more reviews of speculative fiction by Greg Bear.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/04/04

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