Slow Cold Death
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
Lori Barrow, the youngest graduate from Superior Technical Institute (STI) returns to her alma mater in hopes of securing tenure. Soon after her arrival a suspicious death of a disliked student triggers a series of cover-ups, competition and sabotage. The refusal between departments to assist each other results in constant bickering and secret missions.
The science university setting foreshadowed what was hopefully going to be a geeky and quirky mystery, but some of the story's structural problems interfered with a smooth reading. The scrambled flow can probably be attributed to author, Susy Gage's genius brain. As a physics professor, her knowledge of the academic protocols and jargon can be assumed to be massive. However, an average reader needs to have more simplified descriptions.
The exact conflict or problem is not clearly stated. Is Lori trying to figure out who the killer is or publish a proposal? A more thorough account of the chain of command or checklist the protagonist is trying to complete needs to be given. The money and proposals for the different departments are not tied together, making it impossible to keep score.
The dialogue is great with lots of gossip and witty remarks, but the jargon gets too thick in sections. A reader understands that they may not know what some of the scientific references mean, but the inclusion of the phrases supports the setting or the character. Parts began to read like a thesis paper, making it difficult to hold this non-science majored reader's attention.
The biggest problem I had throughout this novel was the cast of characters. So many were introduced but not rounded enough to differentiate them from each other. They were also referenced throughout the text by any combination of their first, last or nicknames. Only when I came to the end of the e-book version did I realize there was a corresponding cast of characters including job titles. I desperately needed this as well as the glossary with the French phrase translations. This is definitely not the author's problem that I did not find this until I completed my reading, but a suggestion may be to put these in the front or possibly reference their location before the reader begins.
This version needs another round of revisions to tighten up the storyline and delete unnecessary characters.