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Chip And Die

Author: Arlene Sachitano
Genre: Mystery
Reviewed by Kevin Tipple

11070401Harley Spring is already having a bad day at work when she gets a very strange phone call. The anonymous voice tells her that if she ever wants to see Miroslaw again, she needs to be across the street at the local bar, the Blue Whale, at nine that evening. Miroslaw is Mike's real name and an employee who, according to someone who claimed to be his brother, is out sick with the flu. Harley needs him at work and needs him well as he is supposed to be figuring out why the numbers in production at Sil-Trac, a computer chipmaker, aren't adding up. Faced with an intense audit to meet ISO 9000 standards, everything has to be perfect and her people have to do their jobs right the first time.

Harley, more curious than concerned, goes to the Blue Whale at the appointed hour and is confronted by three men with a bafflingly strange request. To see Miroslaw/Mike alive again, she must pay $4200 dollars in unmarked bills. The amount is odd, as is the group's behavior, and she does nothing as the men leave the bar.

Mike's possible kidnapping becomes part of a long laundry list of problems at home and at work. Instead of calling the police directly, she reports the situation to her HR department, resulting in the involvement of the local police. What follows is a cascade of events; each worse that the preceding one as her professional career and personal life is threatened in this wild tale of romance, greed and corporate espionage.

Featuring a potentially interesting main character and exhaustive background information on the chip industry, this novel moves forward at a somewhat erratic pace. At times, the story moves steadily forward before grinding to a near halt as events at work are painstakingly discussed. Then too there is the occasional strange behavior of the main character, which at times threatens the reader's willing suspension of disbelief. Despite being depicted as professionally very competent, she does not seem able to properly deal with problems at work in a professional real world manner and has a very hard time with her personal life.

The book, despite its perceived flaws, is still interesting and provides a fairly good story. The mystery itself is complex and changing and the final twist at the end, one of several, works well and fits nicely into the setup. All in all, this is a book worth reading and an author to keep an eye on in the future.


November 28, 2004 in Mystery | Permalink


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