Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: The God Particle

The God Particle
The God Particle by Rod Kierkegaard Jr.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science-fiction/technothriller Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free copy from Amazon; I also had an offer from NetGalley to read this book in exchange for an honest review. While I could have received an eGalley from NetGalley, I decided to read the free copy I received from Amazon to make sure I had the latest version.

Synopsis: On the day Ricardo Alomar’s four best friends are discovered dead at the launch of their high-tech start-up company, his world is shattered.

The police can find no cause for their mysterious deaths, but as their bodies start disappearing from the morgue, Ricardo is drawn into the investigation of his friends’ strange behavior and their even stranger invention, a kind of time-displacement generator utilizing the Higgs boson — the so-called “God Particle”.

At the same time, Ricardo’s old world is vanishing, too. His father, Diego, a famous writer of post-modernist Spanish novels, has slipped into mute senility and is dying; Ricardo is in danger of losing his job, and he finds himself falling in love with his recently murdered friend’s new widow.

In tandem with a foul-mouthed, sexually harassing female cop, he discovers the secret of the God Particle machine and the startling truth behind his friends’ disappearances. But the answer is utterly unlike anything he’d ever expected.

My Thoughts: At the time I picked this up, I had been sort of collecting as many of Kierkegaard’s books as I could. I read The Department of Magic some time ago, so you can track down my review of that book if you’re interested in this author’s work. I’ve been sort of ambivalent about techno-thrillers – sometimes I really like them and sometimes they just leave me cold, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.

It has a very interesting premise, and I was rather surprised to find it quite well-edited, since I saw several reviews that mentioned poor editing. It wasn’t perfect, but I was at the 6 percent point before I noticed any errors, and after that there weren’t too terribly many – mostly missing, extra or flipped words. Perhaps those who complained about the editing had an uncorrected proof, which comprises most ARCs.

I ran across something I wanted to point out; at one point, it is mentioned that Stacy is taking Cymbalta, Wellbutrin and Paxil. Any competent doctor would not allow that, because the mixture of all those SSRIs could cause a potentially fatal side-effect called Serotonin Syndrome. A few years ago I was on both Cymbalta and Wellbutrin SR (prescriptions from different doctors) and when my primary care physician learned about that, she took me off the Wellbutrin. To complicate things, just a bit later Stacy is also said to be on Seroquel, which would also be potentially fatal in that combination. (However, they had the soporific effects of Seroquel down pat – I took that stuff for awhile and it would knock me out; sometimes I’d still be effectively awake but have no idea what I was doing – awful, awful stuff) I wanted to make sure people who read this book are aware of that, because the book makes it sound like this is completely okay when it is in reality very dangerous.

While the premise was interesting, and the characters were quite well-done, I just didn’t get that into the book. I have no explanation for my lack of interest, either. It just didn’t engage me. While it is well-written and I can’t complain about anything in particular, at the same time I constantly found my attention wandering. Those who enjoy techno-thrillers with a strong science-fiction basis should enjoy this.

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