Reviews by Roberto Alsina

Syndrome

by Thomas Hoover

Some may complain about the science in the book and they would be right. I will complain about something else: the plot and the writing.

Not only is the plot fueled by coincidence in a scale that would make anyone notice (examples? the journalist is the son of the bad guy billionaire *and* the old flame of the architect/experimental subject who is the sister of the bad guys's CFO kind of coincidences).

There is also the random detailed description of things that don't matter in the least, but also make no sense. Here's the decription of Alan the doorman:

"When Ally and Knickers walked into her lobby, Alan, the morning doorman, was there, just arrived, tuning is blond acoustic guitar. Watching over her condominium building was his day job, but writing a musical for Off Broadway (about Billy the Kid) was his dream. He was a tall, gaunt guy with a mane of red hair he kept tied back in a ponytail while he was in uniform and on duty. Everybody in the building was rooting for him to get his show mounted, and he routinely declared that he and his partner were this close to getting backers. "We're gonna have the next Rent, so you'd better invest now" was how he put it. Alan had the good cheer of a perpetual optimist and he needed it, given the odds he was up against."

Then he pats the dog and exchanges two phrases with the protagonist.

I marvel at the idea of a doorman that's allowed to play guitar on the lobby on working hours. With this introduction you may wonder what role Alan plays in the plot. Well, let me quote the only other mention of Alan in the whole book. It comes very near the end.

"The condominium no longer had a doorman. In hopes of trimming costs, the condo board had sent out a secret ballot on the subject. By a narrow margin the owners had voted to dispense with that particular frill. Although she missed Alan and his early morning optimism about his Off-Broadway hopes, she realized the economy was probably timely."

I rest my case. The plot is just lazy, the science is contrived, and the writing lame. Not a good book.

Reviewed on 2010.12.08

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