Title: Virtually Dead
Author: Peter May
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Paperback: 306 pages
From the Publisher:
Crime-scene photographer Michael Kapinsky is a man whose first life is in a mess. But his second life is about to get a whole lot messier. Staggering under the financial burden left by his recently deceased wife, Michael struggles to come to terms with her death - until his psychologist persuades him to enter a virtual world called Second Life to participate in a new kind of group therapy. Once there, his persona, Chas Chesnokov, discovers that victims whose crime scenes Michael has attended in the wealthy Southern California resort of Newport Beach have had their avatars clinically executed in the virtual world. Co-opted into the Twist of Fate Detective Agency, Chas embarks on an investigation with an exotic dancer and escort girl. They uncover a series of killings and a financial scam that is netting the murderer millions of dollars. And when Michael is tempted by money that mysteriously appears in Chas's Second Life account, both his real and his virtual lives are in danger.
In Virtually Dead by Peter May, Second Life participants are being murdered and the murder is breaking through to real life. Michael Kapinsky in real life is a Newport CSI who has lost his wife, is about to lose his home and can no longer afford his much needed therapy sessions to help him overcome the grief he is experiencing and to help him move forward with his life. When Michael explains to his therapist, Angela, that he will no longer be able to attend his therapy sessions, Angela informs Michael of a new and experimental group therapy session she has created in Second Life and invites Michael to give it a try. After all what does he have to lose? From these sessions, Chas Chesnokov is created. Janey, Michael's friend is known as "Twist" in Second Life and has devised a way to make money in Second Life. Posing as a man, she opened Twist of Fate Detective Agency, inviting Chas to be her partner. When people begin dying off, Chas is determined to find out how and who is behind the deaths. Confused? I was dreadfully lost and I still am uncertain what Second Life is, even though May does offer the reader a brief tutorial, which may be helpful to many, but confused me further. The language and abbreviations of Second Life (SL) left me confused and unfortunately for me, a vast majority of the book is written in the format that I can only assume is an SL format. While I did not enjoy Virtually Dead, I never managed to feel comfortable with the layout of the book and had no feelings towards any of the characters; I believe many who do indeed know what Second Life is as well as the terminology may find this mystery to be an enjoyable read. The premise is an intriguing one, yet I was unable to enjoy it due to my struggling with the format and lingo. I am still trying to puzzle out what a "poseball" is and realize now I truly do not care. Clearly, this book was simply not written for me. For those looking for a good mystery that ties real life with Second Life may want to give Virtually Dead a chance.
For more information about the author, please visit Peter May's website.
I received a complimentary copy of Virtually Dead by Peter May from Poisoned Pen Press for review. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.