Like Dr Frankenstein, brilliant scientist Joe Messenger will stop at nothing in his quest for immortality . . .
In his first techno-thriller, James tackles the issue of life after death, just as he did in his horror novels Twilight and Possession. This time, though, the author's fervid imagination--which here mixes the cryonic preservation of human life, the downloading of human personalities into a computer and a Fatal Attraction-style love affair--creates only a muddle. Neuroscientist Joe Messenger, of England's Isaac Newton University, has inherited his father's belief in, and passion for, cryonic preservation; he has also constructed a computer dubbed ARCHIVE, designed to eventually store the contents of an adult human brain. This goal seems far beyond reach until Joe meets the seductive Juliet Spring, who shows him how it can be done. But Juliet has an ulterior motive--she has six months to live, and wants her own personality digitized before she dies. When she does die, and ARCHIVE takes on her chillingly psychotic characteristics, the reader will be miles ahead of most of the characters in figuring out what's going on. The only real surprise involves the cryonics subplot, which is a needless complication, giving the impression that this novel consists of two books forced between the same covers. In addition, by pacing revelations slowly to accommodate his well-drawn but amazingly obtuse characters, James risks losing readers' interest. Despite an intriguing premise and some genuine scares, this is yet another novel in which less would have been more.