the immortal game ….

 

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a  novel that pays homage to Hammett, Chandler, and every wisecracking PI in the genre, and then some. It also introduces one of the most delightful characters to come along in some time: August Riordan, a jazz bass-playing PI who is cynical, irreverent, and a laugh a minute.  The setting here is present-day San Francisco and the very modern world of Silicon Valley, where software theft has replaced “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

The aptly named Edwin Bishop, a multimillionaire entrepreneur, has developed advanced chess software able to make decisions while playing human opponents, unlike the usual software that tends to follow set moves. Bishop himself is a highly intelligent, arrogant man who lives his eccentric life in his mansion with several paid female companions. He is unaware that his software has been stolen until he stumbles across a vendor demonstrating his game at a trade show. Enter Riordan, who must negotiate his way through the world of high technology, jazz, and the underground arena of S/M as he searches for the missing software. His sometime partner in this venture is Chris Duckworth, who works part-time for Bishop’s competitor, and who, in his spare time, works as a transvestite at the Stigmata bar. The characters in this charming, fresh, and entertaining mystery are fully fleshed; the dialogue is fast, compelling, and witty; and the grainy photographs that accompany each chapter opening add a pleasing dimension to this delightful first outing. 

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