Hogan's ( Voyage from Yesteryear ) police procedural with an SF twist is a patchwork of tired devices and worn-out plotting. Joe Kopeksky, who works for the New York City Bureau of Criminal Investigation, is dispatched to discover why time has started literally to run amok. The story unravels from there. Kopeksky hooks up with a pretty, wisecracking sidekick and the two hit the trail. While the television networks struggle to maintain their broadcast schedules, Kopeksky hopes for illumination from a charming Irish priest with whom he discusses time, God and prayer over tea. Dr. Ernst Grauss, a crazed scientist, complete with a German accent and prone to wild gesticulations, discovers the cause for the radical time loss: bugs from another dimension. Microbes from an alternate universe have infested the city's supercomputer cores, where they can ``eat'' time and ``excrete'' space into their alternate universe. Grauss's solution requires the city to be evacuated (``New York City lay wrapped in an unheard of stillness'') and is, of course, successful, but any suspense or suspension of disbelief has fled long before this. (Dec.)
The prolific author of more than a dozen hard sf novels, Hogan here turns in a brief, skillfully rendered mixture of sf and detective elements. When all the clocks and watches in Manhattan inexplicably fall out of synch with one another, criminal investigator Joe Kopeksky is assigned to examine the possibility that someone or something is literally stealing time. With the help of his quirky fact-finding assistant, a physicist, and an elderly priest fascinated by insects, Kopeksky pursues the outlandish but all-too-likely notion that other-dimensional bugs are "eating" time and leaving space as a waste product. Following the brisk pace and economical plotting of a TV police show, Hogan displays a sure hand for believable characterizations and an appropriately wry tone to match the improbable premise. A well-written, entirely original addition to the sf literature of time alteration.