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norcekri has commented on (1) product.

The Case of Einstein's Violin by William L. Sullivan
The Case of Einstein's Violin

norcekri, November 25, 2007

I can see why Mr. Sullivan's hiking books sell well. His light writing style transfers information effectively and pleasantly, and his grammar is refreshingly accurate, a rarity under today's publishing standards.

That said, I want my money back on this book. I bought this from Mr. Sullivan at a book event. He promised me several laughs and a small dose of science fiction; the advance material touted that part of the story is set on the hiking trails of Europe.

I'm still waiting for the first laugh. There's a weak pun on "lord Peter Whimsey" near the end, but the only other sounds that passed my lips were the snorts of derision at the scientific errors that drop this from "science fiction" into the realm of grade-B fantasy.

As for the hiking trails of Europe, the one trail utilized in the book appears only as a transportation device, a method other than train, auto, etc. There is little about the trail other than its existence, endpoints, and general terrain.

Mr. Sullivan switches between first-person viewpoints of the two main characters, a useful literary device -- if placed in skillful hands. In merely competent hands, such as this book, it falls flat. There is very little difference between the two voices, such that the reader needs the consistent, redundant self-informing passages to keep remind him of which woman he's with in this chapter. Thus, the voice fails to be credible, as the mode switches between narrative and diaristic.

Finally, I feel the story fails as a mystery. The plot depends too much on cliche and exposition, and too many of the emotional turns are flat statements. Too often, Mr. Sullivan violates the adage "Don't tell me, *show* me." The final passage (both physical and literary), shows that Mr. Sullivan is capable of writing up to that level, but does not yet have the skill to pull it off for an entire novel.

The travel portions are pleasant; I will certainly consider Mr. Sullivan's other works if I plan to do any hiking in Europe. However, I will avoid his fiction until he gets an editor up to present market standards.
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