When jaded San Francisco stockbroker Sloane Wood acts on an illegal private tip on the Internet, her life is thrown into turmoil as she attempts to learn the identity of her provocative source while dodging the SEC. First-novelist Lee, who works for a Silicon Valley technology firm, is clearly familiar with the wildly varied contents of the World Wide Web, where one can browse through pornography as easily as one can peruse the stock markets. Though her novel purports to exploit the seamy side of the Internet, however, she tap-dances around the subject of hardcore cyberporn. Even Sloan Wood's kinky tastes in anonymous sex come off as run-of-the-mill rather than erotic or exciting. Conversations taking place online in a sexually explicit chatroom are neither shocking nor titillating, and a scene alleged to come from a snuff film seems tacked on merely to punch up the book's scandal quotient. Encumbered by a ludicrous second-person point of view ("You pour the coffee.... You type...."), the narrative lacks genuine character development. Cynical Sloane elicits little empathy during her self-destructive plunge into danger and violence. In addition, Lee takes an easy cop-out in identifying the mysterious interloper. What is presented as a sensational expose of the squalid precincts of cyberspace is instead a novel that never transcends the device of its conception.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sloane Wood is a high-powered San Francisco stockbroker who, although she has all the trappings of success, is emotionally divorced from both herself and others. She violates professional ethics and the law when a mysterious e-mail message provides her with the insider information to conduct a lucrative trade. Then she is lured into a game of blackmail and sexual manipulation by the message's author. The anonymous sender eventually leads Sloane to a private Web site that promises to reveal and fulfill her darkest desires. Her life and career rapidly, and predictably, devolve toward a grim denouement. Despite the title, this work is not as much about the dangers of the Internet (which seems to be the current favorite vehicle of social fears) as it is about alienation and vulnerability. The dark descent is compelling, though its aspect borders on the prurient, drawing both Sloane and the reader into the morally questionable role of voyeur at a snuff film. Still, Lee shows great talent and is a writer to watch. Eric Robbins
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Book Description Russian Hill Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 096535248X