A novel by Eric Brown, eligible for the 2003-4 OUSFG Award.
"In the third and final instalment of the Virex Trilogy, private detective Hal Halliday is spending more and more time in VR? to escape the harshness of the real world. Casey, his girlfriend, is with someone else, but things with the virtual Casey are idyllic ...In a futuristic variation upon the modern detective story, we follow Hal as he returns from retirement, seeking the answer to the mysterious disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, last seen with a child prodigy and an unknown older man. We accompany him during his encounters with the jaded individuals who now occupy sullied Manhattan and share his anguish at the gradual realisation of the devastating effects that VR? is having upon his fellow citizens, rapidly losing their abilities to interact in the real world. Ironically, their inadequacies are mirrored in Hal's own physical demise, but true recognition of this cannot occur until he successfully unravels the truth ...Will the VR? companies perfect the technology to sustain citizens in virtual reality for extended periods? And will Hal sign up, turning his back on the real world for good?
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