From Library Journal
Mezrich (Threshold, LJ 5/1/96) combines two currently hot topics, the Internet and killer viruses, in his new novel. Telecon Industries is about to revolutionize the information superhighway. Its Set-Top Boxes, provided free of charge to every household in America, will connect each television and personal computer to one all-encompassing network. Television programs on demand, interactive software, network banking, and more will be available in every home?unless, of course, a deadly computer virus that travels through the network's fiber-optic lines kills everyone first. Nick Barnes, a paramedic who was a surgeon before an accident destroyed one of his hands, and Samantha Craig, a supermodel-gorgeous scientist employed by U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, have fewer than three days to determine the origin of the virus before The Big Turn On, the event that will activate Telecon's computer network. Despite its somewhat plausible premise, Reaper never quite rings true because of its unbelievable characters and impossible situations. Not a necessary purchase.-?Melissa Rockicki, NYPL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Mezrich's second technothriller (after Threshold, 1996) charts the progress of two All-American Perfect Specimens in their race against the clock to stop a rogue communications virus from wiping out most of the TV-watching and computer-literate population. Nick Barnes is a ruggedly handsome former surgeon with a crippled hand who now works as a paramedic at Boston General. Samantha Craig is a young and gorgeous virologist who works for USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases), which is assigned to investigate mysterious deaths, apparently virally caused, though they've occurred in widely separated locales (including Boston). And Telcon, the brainchild of black leader Marcus Teal, is a fabulously successful communications company (it's usurped Microsoft's position) that falls under suspicion when Nick and Samantha (who quickly get beyond their initial mutual mistrust, and into each other's arms) deduce that ``a freak modulation of light emitted through a television screen'' is randomly killing people. In parallel scenes juxtaposed with Nick's and Samantha's increasingly heated pursuit of the super-virus, we learn that Marcus Teal's nationwide electronic hookup is part of a plan to reshuffle contemporary priorities; that Marcus's second-in- command, Melora Parkridge, whose father was a victim of chemical warfare, ``intends to use technology to kill technology''; and that Ned Dickerson, a Telcon technician who accidentally stumbles onto secrets he only half-understands, may be the most dangerous of them all. The story moves along quite briskly, considering the author's habit of downloading reams of undramatized information about electricity, ophthalmology, various branches of medicine, and fiber optics. But its characters are cardboard and its denouement, which features a shoot-out in Telcon's main computer room and some of the hoariest dialogue this side of 1950s monster movies, is also a letdown. About on a par with Robin Cook, and a couple of cuts below Michael Crichton. Wait for the (inevitable) movie. ($300,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.