THE OCTAVE DISPLACEMENT by Matthew Marullo

THE OCTAVE DISPLACEMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A gifted young music professor’s composition unlocks a doorway to a parallel universe in which he must protect the sequence of notes from time-traveling terrorists, and solve a mystery involving a seductive student.

The lost chord, the music of the spheres, microtonal mysticism–for centuries, the physics of music has hinted at great mysteries beyond just pleasant melodies. In that context, Mike Chessel, the witty protagonist, discovers the Cosmic Notes, a sonic progression that, when performed outside soundproofed parameters, generates specific vibrations resulting in dynamic explosions of time and space. When he plays the Cosmic Notes for his girlfriend inside a protected room, both of them rocket through a space-time fissure to Antiearth–our planet’s cosmic twin–where they have new physical forms and new identities. Chessel meets a fan of his symphonies and learns that her beautiful adopted daughter, Jamie, is one of his students. When nude photographs of Jamie turn up on a porn website and are traced to one of Chessel’s faculty colleagues, who has mysteriously vanished, the professor begins an investigation. He also discovers that alien terrorists from the future are tracking him to secure the secret of the Cosmic Notes for nefarious purposes, which could alter the history. Marullo’s premise is clever, and he skillfully interweaves the more conventional porn-site mystery with the sci-fi construct–including a satisfying twist at the end. He also displays promise as a humorous prose stylist. But he’s guilty of a first-timer’s outsized ambition. Many of the comic scenes are overlong, which slackens the dramatic tension, and the author lingers too frequently on secondary characters.

Excessively ambitious, but an encouraging debut.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2006
ISBN: 978-0-595-41335-5
Program: Kirkus Indie
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