September 01, 1997 12:00 PM

by Michael Marshall Smith

No wonder Hollywood’s DreamWorks SKG has snapped up the film rights. This darkly atmospheric sci-fi thriller, long on technological wizardry and futuristic grotes-queries, makes excellent fodder for the big screen. Sometime, maybe a century or two from now, ex-cop Jack Randall, a cross between Philip Marlowe and Buck Rogers, must chase down his troubling past, accompanied by six-and-one-half people called Spares, who have been used for biological experimentation. In his quest, Randall revisits a terrifying place called The Zone—a mind-meld of the Vietnam War and an antiworld where no rules of behavior, or even physics, apply. In his American debut novel, Smith, who lives in London, masterfully moves the whodunit toward the future, opening up refreshing vistas for a genre rooted in the present. (Bantam, $22.95).

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