cover image The Stars Turned Inside Out

The Stars Turned Inside Out

Nova Jacobs. Atria, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-6680-1854-5

Jacobs (The Last Equation of Isaac Severy) follows up her acclaimed debut with an engrossing whodunit revolving around Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider. After arriving for work one morning, CERN engineer Claude Touschard discovers the dead body of precocious young physicist Howard Anderby in one of the LHC’s tunnels. While it appears Anderby has been killed by radiation exposure, there’s no evidence the collider was turned on the night before, nor that anybody was in it. To keep the death from becoming public, CERN hires well-respected PI Sabine Leroux to investigate. As she speaks with Anderby’s colleagues, Sabine turns up copious evidence of professional rivalries and resentments, as well as Anderby’s potential involvement in a “geeky arms race” with the Chinese that may have put a target on his back. Meanwhile, researcher Eve Marsh, who harbored a crush on Anderby, frets about her recently published anonymous article considering whether particle physics can combat catastrophic climate change, which was based on her unauthorized use of the lab’s resources. Jacobs bestows even minor characters with such convincing motives that the plot’s momentum never slows, no matter how complex things get. Golden age mystery fans will love this. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, Bankoff Collaborative. (Mar.)