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Chasing the Dime    by Michael Connelly order for
Chasing the Dime
by Michael Connelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Henry Pierce is the founder and creative talent behind high tech company Amedeo Technologies, which pursues research in molecular computing in L.A.. Henry and his fianc9e have just separated, their relationship stressed by his obsession with 'chasing the dime' in his research lab (the title has several more layers of meaning, which I enjoyed discovering through the novel). Henry's assistant has organized a new apartment and telephone for him. When he moves in, there are already messages waiting for him, and the phone keeps on ringing.

These calls are all for Lilly, and it becomes quickly clear to Pierce that Lilly's old number has been reassigned to him and that her profession is something to do with a high class escort service and prostitution. Curiosity about Lilly's fate drives Henry to investigate. He wonders why she did not inform clients of a new phone number and tracks down the L.A. Darlings website which advertises her services, various places of residence and her sometime partner on the job, Robin.

At the same time, Amedeo Technologies is reaching a critical point. A big presentation is coming up shortly, in which the company will seek serious financing before filing a key patent and announcing research results whose applications will have a profound societal impact. When the reader starts to wonder why Henry would risk all of this for an obsession, the author begins to lift the veil on the scientist's past and his relationship with an older sister, Isabelle.

Henry's investigation into Lilly's fate leads him into personal peril from shady characters and also from a police officer who suspects him of playing the Good Samaritan to hide a real involvement. It becomes a race between Henry's closing the deal of the century and news spreading of his doings, at a time when such publicity could be deadly. And of course, the author has surprises in store for his hero and for the reader.

It's a brilliant departure from the author's noir Harry Bosch novels, which I also enjoy a great deal. Chasing the Dime is a powerful combination of mystery (what happened to Lilly?) and thriller (what will happen to Henry?), with the added fascination of a window into one of the most exciting areas of research today.
Note: Just for fun, go to fictional website,, or; get Henry's phone messages and watch out for a contest coming soon.

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