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Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

New York Blues (Virex Trilogy, #2)

New York Blues (Virex Trilogy, #2) - Eric Brown As the next-in-series reading list rolls around, so I find myself returning to the New York of 2040 (although it's presumably 2041 or even 2042 by now). This is the sequel to New York Nights's interest in including slightly more sexy-sexy than is strictly necessary becomes apparent. That time it was continual references to the fact that some of the main characters were lesbians – it just about stopped short of uncomfortable, but it was noticeable. This time we switch out the lesbians and introduce a main villain with obvious paedophile tendencies. It's never clearly laid out like that, but we have a man who is using virtual-reality to approach and seduce much younger women, before kidnapping them. And, while Hal is angry at this, it feels like he's probably slightly more angry because it's happened to the sister of his client (who he's obviously going to fall for) rather than because she's so young. In fact, there's even an implication that some of the characters think that the activity (bar the kidnapping) is borderline okay because it's in VR, therefore it's not real. To an extent this is explored as an idea – on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog – but the awkwardness comes because it's not really investigated as an idea, more just left there as a convenient excuse for the villain to try and convince himself of.

Taken for what it's clearly meant to be: a sci-fi crime-thriller sequel; it's an enjoyable read. It could have been more though if it had dug deeper into some of the topics it starts to look at. Instead it skims over the top of them and risks just feeling a bit creepy. The third book hasn't been published as an ebook yet, so I may find myself waiting a bit to complete the set.