by Blaine C. Readler
Full Arc Press

"You can program a computer to do almost anything: problem recognition, trend prediction, even psychological analysis... the hard part is to decide what tasks to do."

Powderhole, a small Pennsylvania burg, is saved by the arrival of Bruce Weiss. The hometown boy and electronic engineer returns to attend the sudden funeral of his father who died in a car crash. Now Bruce's own life may depend more on his analytic abilities than on first-grade friendships. Which of two young women, new to town, should he trust? Lisa is the shapely anthropologist major and step-daughter of the man whose porch Bruce's father crashed into. Or will he believe lovely Ariel, who knows more than she is willing to tell—including why she is in Powderhole just as all the trouble starts. When local citizens want to break into the locked vault of a defunct bank, everyone is on edge. Somehow this is related to the mysterious death of a leading citizen and the one person who possessed the vault code. She died mysteriously atop the abandoned railroad bridge above Powderhole's five waterfalls that plunge down a nearby canyon.

Readler has written a mystery after the heart of died-in-the-wool government conspiracy theorists. From killer bees to deadly guns, the citizens of Powderhole are accidentally under attack from the programming skills of a laboratory experiment gone awry, combined with theft of valuable government property. With a dozen science fiction books under his belt, Readler is no amateur at his craft. Mystery intensifies drama. Characters are developed expertly or removed quickly by deadly means. Dialog flows effortlessly alongside of action and analytical reasoning. Powderhole is an easily-read fiction work of 209 pages. It mixes science and latest technology with buzzwords and protest slogans—all topics that are hot buttons in today's media. While piquing interest within the current cultures' readership, this genre can fall victim to a narrow window of timeliness.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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