“Spooky action at a distance” was Albert Einstein’s delightfully nontechnical description of quantum entanglement, the complex subatomic phenomenon that has been in the news of late and could someday enable matter to be teleported from here to there and back again à la Star Trek. Odessa native RICHARD COX imagines the potential problems of this futuristic process in his debut sci-fi thriller, RIFT (Ballantine). Corporate baddies (NeuroStor) coerce Cameron Fisher, an unhappy mid-level accountant in their Houston office, to be their human-transmission guinea pig. When it goes badly, they desperately need to shut him up, and the chase is on. Cox shows promise—he has a deft touch with action sequences—but his plot is full of gimmicks and bogs down long before the story has run its course.

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