The Consciousness Plague by Paul Levinson
Tor Books; ISBN: 0765300982; (March 2002)
Review by Elisabeth Carey
Hardcover: 316 pages List price $
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SFRevu's coverage of Paul's movie debut with student filmmaker Jay Kensinger The Chronology Protection Case featuring NYPD Forensic Detective Phil D'Amato.

This is the second Phil D'Amato mystery novel. It has all the virtues of The Silk Code (Tor, 1999), and it's much better integrated--no weird diversions through other stories which happen to contain crucial information. In the wake of a flu epidemic, treated by a new antibiotic that is actually effective in shortening the length and lessening the severity of the disease, there's an epidemic of short-term amnesia. It moves from the level of annoying to the level of serious problem when it starts to interfere with the investigation of an apparent serial killer. D'Amato battles his own and others' unreliable memories, one or more killers, city and federal bureaucracy, and politics in pursuit of the solution to both mysteries.

Highly enjoyable.

About the audio version: At Readercon this month I ran into Paul Levinson hanging out in the hall with soap star/audio actor Mark Shanahan, who has just finished the audio form of Paul's new Phil D'Amato Forensic Detective story: The Consciousness Plague, which entertained me all the way back to Norfolk VA after the con. Elisabeth Carey is right. It is a highly enjoyable story, maybe the most enjoyable thing Paul's done yet. Mark Shanahan does a great job with the story too. The audio effects are minimal, and there's just enough background music to keep the atmosphere interesting. It definitely left me wanting more stories about Phil and the characters he'd acquired on the case. Phil D'Amato is a mix of Quincy, the X-Files, and a smart NY Cop. How can you help but like him?

2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu