23rd June 2000 at 01:00
HEX: Ghosts pound;9.99. HEX: Shadows pound;3.99. HEX pound;3.99. By Rhiannon Lassiter. Macmillan

The video generation's taste for pacy, scene-shifting action adventure is poorly catered for by publishers who, particularly in their lists for older readers, concentrate on whimsically humorous first-person narratives or emotionally intense tales.

There is neither whimsy nor wrenching of heart-strings in the "vidcam" landscape of Rhiannon Lassiter, who has now completed her Hex trilogy with Hex: Ghosts.

Hex: Shadows, now out in paperback, added a stronger political dimension to the story that started in Hex, Lassiter's electrifying debut novel. It delivered a chilling vision of what life in an authoritarian Europen Federation of the future might be like. Just as the chemistry between Mulder and Scully has developed in the later series of television's The X-Files, character development takes a significant shift forward in the third book, particularly in terms of the strong central female, Raven.

Lassiter's piercing intelligence, as witnessed by her brilliant summarising of the first two books at the start of Hex: Ghosts and her confident use of the omniscient narrative voice, can distance readers from the action, making them watchers rather than participants. But few readers will remain disengaged at the cyber-liberating climax.

A wise move now would be to publish the trilogy in a single paperback.

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