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    TAILS YOU LOSE by Lisa Smedman


    ROC, February, 2001

    Alma's ticking bomb is literally in her head. Unless she finds who has framed her for murder, the corporation for which she works will end her employment terminally. Unfortunately, the frame is near perfect. A shadow runner left an exact genetic match behind as the only clue in the abduction and murder of Alma's friend and co-worker Gray Wolf. Now this unknown enemy is sending her messages on her encrypted phone. Alma knows she has to go deep underground to have a chance at finding her enemy.

    Night Owl enjoys her job as a shadow runner, bucking the huge dragon-controlled corporations that threaten her society and her future. Finding the mysterious Fu coin, which brings happiness to whomever possesses it, could be the triumph of her career--and it might be the only way she stays alive. With three street gangs and tough security professional Alma all hunting for her, Night Owl has her hands full. Of course she does have certain advantages--including the best implants money can buy.

    Set in the popular late 21st century era after the return of magic (see, for example THE LAST HOT TIME or WAR FOR THE OAKS, TAILS YOU LOSE mixes magic with technology in a darkly dystopic world of national and moral breakdown and of corporate warfare. TAILS YOU LOSE is an intensely personal tale, centering on the relationship between Alma and Night Owl as each attempts to create something good out of the broken world they inhabit.

    TAILS YOU LOSE is a superior work in a fascinating sub-genre.

    Three Star

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