Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Delete All Suspects by Donna Andrews (Turing Hopper Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Twisty plot and well developed characters
Cons: The ending is a bit rushed.
The Bottom Line:
Turing on the case
With another chapter that
Furthers the story

Hi Tech Hit and Run

Delete All Suspects is the fourth in Donna Andrews genre blending series. Combining a hint of science fiction with mystery, she came up with Turing Hopper, Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP), and her friends Tim and Maude.

PI Tim Pincoski is beginning to get tired of the background checks that have become his bread and butter in recent months so he jumps when a different kind of case is offered to him. Eddie Stallman is in critical condition in the hospital after a hit and run accident leaves him in a coma. His grandmother is convinced that it was an attempted murder and even thinks it has to do with Eddie's computer business. She wants to hire Tim and his partner, Claudia Diaz, to find out why someone would want to hurt him over the web sites he hosted.

Anything computer related is over Tim's head, so he immediately turns to his friends. While Turing tries to gain access without leaving any traces, Maude Graham sorts through the clutter in the basement room Eddie lived in hoping to find a password that will help them gain access without hacking.

Tim and Claudia, meanwhile, track down and interview Eddie's friends. What they uncover is a trusting guy who let too many people have access to his system. Several friends seem to be taking advantage of that trust. But did one of them run him down to keep Eddie from turning them over to the authorities? Or is something else to blame for Eddie's accident?

This series has been a favorite since book one. Once again, Donna Andrews delivers a great mystery with engaging and well-developed characters. Since this series builds on each book, you really must read them in order to fully understand the people and relationships here. Even though enough background is given to bring new readers up to speed, this necessitates spoiling previous books in the series.

AIP Turing continues to be the best-developed character in the series. Even though she's not human, Ms. Andrews brings her hopes, desires, and wants to life in a realistic way. Turing takes up a new hobby this time around, pets. Watching her want what humans take for granted and the trials she puts her human friends through to get them provides for some nice comic moments.

This isn't to say that the humans aren't well developed as well. Maude and her struggle between loyalty to Turing and her desire to become closer with her boyfriend Dan is well handled. I find myself rooting for them to stay together even if I can't see how the two of them can work things out. Tim's insecurities are equally endearing. He and Claudia make a great team. Since point of view shifts seamlessly between these three characters, they are the best developed in the series, but that's not to the detriment of the others, including the new characters.

The plot, as always, is top notch. Things seem to be straightforward for quite a while, but there are several twists to watch out for that I never suspected were coming. While this book doesn't deal exclusively with series nemesis Nestor Garcia, that storyline gets a nice twist as well. The ending was once again a bit rushed, but a second, slower reading helped me straighten everything out in my mind.

This series continually entertains. Adding that to its unique premise, Delete All Suspects will easily entertain science fiction and mystery fans equally.

And you must read the Turing Hopper Mysteries in order.

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