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There’s no psychic powerful enough to ferret out where celebrity medium Edward mislaid his writing talent, but it certainly isn’t in this flaccid suspense novel.

One wants to like, even praise, a novel in which both Adolf Hitler and John Travolta figure. Alas, the mere names are the best part of the ploy. Here’s the opening line, at which the heart sinks: “Ten-year-old Charlene St. John glanced at the clock.” As well she might, since dad’s not home yet, and it’s near six. Dad’s from Scotland, and so, naturally enough, he says things like, “If men like me dinna screw in the bolts and tighten the nuts, the ship would come apart and sink to the bottom of the sea.” Well, give her all she’s got or no, and the fact remains that Scotty is just one of many people—everyone on the planet, really—who are entangled with some very weird events that, as the pope tells an assembly of stereotype-perfect world religious leaders, “taken together indicate the possibility of malevolent forces at work.” Enter ace scientist Jason Chang, who tells the president of the United States (POTUS, throughout most of the yarn, presumably to save on typing wear and tear) that “what we at NASA have been calling Dark Matter has appeared from nowhere—or, more correctly from a point near galaxy cluster Abell 2744.” Astronomy buffs may know that Abell 2744 is called Pandora’s Cluster because of its curious properties, among them heretofore not having been the ability to conjure up forces of evil so bad that even the aforementioned Hitler (or, as POTUS endearingly calls him, “perverted piece of shit”) hasn’t sided with them. Can the world be saved from Dark Matter and the Dark Overlords? By a few pages in, only John Travolta, jetting his way over a ravaged land, might be moved to care, while those who prize good writing will pray for the end days—or at least the end of this grinding tale. 

Edward makes Dan Brown look like Shakespeare. And that’s a powerful bit of conjuring indeed.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3271-4
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2012


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