Denise Danks - "Frame Grabber"
Constable 1992
In Frame Grabber, Denise Danks' tough computer journalist Georgina Powers becomes involved in a world where computer pornography and experimental Virtual Reality technology are being developed to cash in on man's (woman's) desire for the ultimate sensory experience. The heroine's relationship with Dr David Jones takes on compulsive and sinister overtones right from the beginning. Georgina is drawn into a sexual relationship over which she seemingly has little control and which ultimately threatens her life.
An atmosphere of constant anxiety permeates the whole mystery as Georgina lurches from one discovery to another with hardly a chance to draw breath (in some instance, quite literally!)
Despite the fact that the sex scenes read a little like a "bodice-ripping" sex romp, and the fact that some characters are a little too stereotypical (a sexy female colleague who chooses, uses and dumps her men - including Georgina's ex boyfriend - on her way up the journalistic ladder; a boss with "nice gentle eyes" who gets taken for a ride and men who feel they have to protect Georgina from whoever is intent on her harm, blissfully unaware of the extent to which she conspires in her own destruction), despite all of this, the book is hard to put down. You want to know "why" rather than "who" and become more entangled in the heroine's personal drama than in the more mundane question of the crime itself.
Perhaps one reason for the lack of impact behind the "techno-crime" described is that the book was published in 1992. Since then technology has become more accessible and the ideas are obviously slightly dated.
Despite this, Denise Danks' Frame Grabber is an extremely readable book. (E.A.L.)

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