Richard Cox, Author . Del Rey $13.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-345-46285-5

A bizarre human experiment complicates a physicist's quest for the Nobel Prize in Cox's engaging, challenging second novel, a wryly comic thriller that incorporates several concepts from modern particle theory. The story hinges on two parallel and apparently unrelated story lines—in the more credible one, Texas physicist Mike McNair is involved in a high-pressure chase to detect the Higgs field and find the so-called "God particle" that will provide crucial insights into the nature of matter, time and the universe. As McNair closes in on his goal, an executive named Steve Keeley is nearly killed in Zurich after visiting a prostitute and being thrown from a window by an overzealous bouncer. Keeley miraculously survives, but the surgery that saves his life also produces a variety of strange symptoms. When Keeley sees a TV interview with McNair on the eve of the scientist's pivotal discovery, he realizes that his symptoms reflect a version of the Higgs field in his head that has given him near-psychic powers. Cox does a nice job handling a complex subject, but for all his erudite scientific writing and his humorous treatment of McNair's dating difficulties, his execution of the "mad scientist conducts an experiment that runs amok" plot line remains uneven at best. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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