24 March 2009

Review: THE MIND OF A GENIUS, David Snowdon

Pentergen Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9552650-1-3, 281 pages

When top British scientist Malcolm Prince died he had just recently announced a break through discovery, a formula worth millions to somebody. The big problem was that Prince had told no-one exactly what he had been working on, but everyone was sure that it was really important.

So how to find out exactly what he had discovered? International agencies, in particular MI4, the CIA, and Danish intelligence, are keen to find out, and compete with each other to track down people who might know Prince's secret. The quest becomes a global one, moving from London, to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and even Australia.

My major problem with THE MIND OF A GENIUS was that I found the plot rather tenuous. The idea of a scientist working on a project with nobody knowing what it was about was rather odd. Even odder was that he had announced a breakthrough and that he had discovered a world shattering formula, but had still released no further information. The idea that international agencies would expend so much time, money and energy trying to work out what he had discovered also strained credibility, although it did keep me reading to the end to find out whether all the effort was worth it. The problem was that it didn't really add to developing the tension in the novel.

My other problem was a stylistic one. Snowdon attempts to write in a rather naive style and in every change of scene we are told in some detail what the characters are wearing. I kept looking for significance in the colours chosen but I'm not sure there was any. It came to feel to me like something that needed a lot of tightening up. Indeed if there was no clothing description, I began to worry whether I had missed it. The same naive style extends to dialogue and description of action, and here again I felt a lot of editing was needed.

THE MIND OF A GENIUS is David Snowdon's second novel. It has been the subject of an extended cyber blog tour, and indeed this review was originally meant to be part of that tour. A significant number of people have "interviewed" David about the book. David's own web site is here. An extract of the book is available here.

My rating: 3.1

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