Rule 34-Charles Stross

Alternative Worlds

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Rule 34
Charles Stross
Ace, Jul 5 2011, $25.95
ISBN 9780441020348

In 2023, the police conduct 24/7 surveillance of the Internet as a crime prevention method in order to capture illegal porn peddlers. Edinburgh PD Detective Investigator Liz Kavanaugh heads the Rule 34 Crime Investigation Unit that monitors the Net for illegal activity usually extreme porn although she loathes her position.

Three similar homicides occur around the world. Because each is tied to BDSM and drugs, Kavanaugh leads the inquiry into the Scottish murder of dealer Michael Blair. To the DI, this is the case that will revise her dying career. However, her investigation seems to get increasingly murkier as she and her team discovers strange seemingly unrelated clues to the murder that ties to the felonious Toymaker and others with official protection as well as her former lover.

A few years have passed since the events of the Halting State, but if anything the Stross world has grown darker with a deeper nod to Huxley’s 1984. Vividly bleak while extrapolating the philosophy of those who want small government with a Big Brother “patriotic” morality oversight, the story line focuses on society monitoring and censoring the internet. The second case viewpoint adds to that sense of detachment and grimness but the key to this exciting unique police procedural is the enforcement of Rule 34 makes or breaks careers.
 

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