Detective Lieutenant Doré Konstantin is up against it.
Konstantin is Chief Officer in charge of TechnoCrime, Artificial Reality Division. It sounds better than it is - in fact, the AR Division consists of three people and a case load of nearly impossible to solve crimes.
Now, as if handling her heavy case load almost single-handed weren't bad enough, she's got a stalker to deal with.
A woman named Susannah Ell claims that she is being stalked by her ex-husband, Hasting Dervish. It seems implausible at first - Dervish is an extraordinarily rich and powerful man, who should have better things to do. But as Konstantin starts to look into it, she discovers that it's not quite so impossible to believe: Dervish has traded places with an Artificial Intelligence, and is busy committing crimes no one has ever thought of before.
In Artificial Reality, everything is permitted and nothing is forbidden--or so they say. Run a con game in AR, and the law does not prosecute; have sex with a virtual child persona, and the police do not interfere. But infringe on a powerful corporation's copyright and the law rushes in. And so Detective Lieutenant Doré Konstantin unhappily finds herself appointed Chief Officer of the TechnoCrime AR Division. Virtual crimes are almost impossible to solve, her two-person staff is usually assigned elsewhere, and she spends so much of her life pursuing software pirates in AR that her sanity may be in danger. Things can't get any worse.
Then she is assigned to track a cyberstalker known as "Dervish," whose virtual persona is capable of manipulating AR in unprecedented ways. Konstantin reluctantly acknowledges Dervish's victim may be right: Dervish may have done the impossible. He may have traded places with an Artificial Intelligence, letting the AI take possession of his body as his mind escapes into the cyberverse of Artificial Reality, which he can manipulate as no software, even AI, ever could--impossible manipulations that include deleting all the exits from AR, and perhaps even killing the trapped investigator, Doré Konstantin.
Dervish Is Digital is the witty, sharp-edged, hardboiled sequel to the equally exciting and stylish SF mystery Tea from an Empty Cup. --Cynthia Ward