Austinite R.J. Pineiro hits plenty of high notes in his near-future techno-thriller, Havoc (Forge). The year is 2009, and a spiffy military-strength robot orb stolen from the U.S. Nanosolutions compound in Central Texas is loose in Europe. It has switched into survival mode, replicating itself and resolving to wipe out all those pesky humans. Former CIA officer Tom Grant is brought back into the game to go after multinational CyberWerke, who might be behind the theft and, oh, yes, want to rule the world. Pineiro is brilliant at dreaming up nanodevices for his spooks and imagining virtual reality battles in cyberspace. But he strikes wrong chords aplenty by arming Agent Grant with an arsenal of sophomoric innuendo and a bottomless supply of schoolboy horniness. M.S.
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