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A scientist enters another dimension through a giant seashell and meets a cast of historical characters.

Marine biologist Philip Grieg had a magical, if unsettling, experience as a child. Growing up on the beaches of Padre Island, Texas, he was accustomed to strange artifacts washed ashore by the Gulf of Mexico. But none matched the wondrousness of a ten-foot-high shell, one so large that the young Philip could walk inside. There, he heard an eerie voice that would haunt him into adulthood. Twenty-five years later, Philip is a prominent scientist, with the specter of the seashell still lingering over him. He looks up a friend, professor Moebius at Harvard, and asks for help in resolving the mystery of the otherwordly shell. The professor has a secret weapon at his disposal: His great-grandfather was Dr. August Moebius, who discovered the Moebius strip, a geometrical and physical oddity with two edges but only one surface. It is said that traveling along the strip is akin to traveling between dimensions. Thus, Philip and Moebius, with the help of the beautiful M.D. Elaine Rogers, work to lay a track of Moebius strip down inside the spiraling, symmetrical shell, aiming to gain access to the supernatural properties it possesses. Using vehicles to speed around the strip, they soon confirm their suspicions and enter another dimension, one that exists between the living and dead. The space is populated by noteworthy historical characters, all dead or presumed missing. The protagonists meet John Dillinger, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, Glenn Miller and George Leigh Mallory, among others. There, the plot unravels and forward motion ceases, literally and figuratively, as each of the notorious figures tells their story, and Philip looks for a common thread. The stories become episodic and unlinked, causing the narrative to suffer. The mishmash of history and pseudoscience don’t do the story any favors; while interesting, readers may doubt its accuracy. There is too heavy a reliance on historical information throughout, and not enough focus on realistic dialogue or narrative development. Literary audiences, however, will enjoy Lewis’ tribute to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and how he ties it into the plot.

Trippy bit of indulgent storytelling, readable in short bursts.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7414-3797-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
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