The front cover for Quantum Radio by A G Riddle. The cover is a dark blue. In the middle is a golden circle. Inside the cirlce are the outlines of a man and woman running towards a bright yellow light.

Quantum Radio

Quantum Radio by A G Riddle from @HoZ_Books #BookReview #SciFi #Mystery #Thriller

Quantum Radio by A G Riddle,

Head of Zeus, £20.

Reviewed by Stephen Frame

The front cover for Quantum Radio by A G Riddle. The cover is a dark blue. In the middle is a golden circle. Inside the cirlce are the outlines of a man and woman running towards a bright yellow light.

An awful lot happens in the first seventy or so pages of Quantum Radio. The hero, Tyson Klein, a quantum physicist working at CERN, reveals his discovery of a message being transmitted via the particle collisions in the Large Hadron Collider. After making this world-changing announcement, events start to move fairly rapidly for Tyson. He narrowly escapes a bomb going off in his apartment, saved by a warning from his girlfriend, Penny, who he soon finds works for a secretive organisation called the Covenant. Penny has been assigned the task of keeping an eye on Tyson and his research. With his recent discovery, the Covenant now want Tyson extremely dead. Luckily for Tyson, Penny has fallen in love with him and abandons her loyalty to the Covenant, saving him again when another Covenant agent turns up after the bombing to make sure the job’s finished. Penny’s intervention allows Tyson to flee, ending up reunited with his estranged father, who works for a secretive US government organisation in opposition to the Covenant. In due course, Tyson finds out his estranged mother is also in on the plot, working for the same ends as his father.

So far, so breathless. Not long after this point, Quantum Radio morphs from a techno-thriller with an intriguing hook but a fairly contrived outcome into a dimension-jumping, alternate-world quest to bring down the bad guys. It feels like the story is trying to do too much. It comes across as nailing together of tried and tested genre plots into a rickety whole, and while it’s fun in places, it’s not a satisfying read. The twists and turns of the plot are too familiar and, particularly at the start of the book, are laid on too thick. The writing style tends towards describing what is going on, lending it a distant feel from the action and is salted with much explanation and unnecessary detail. Example: at the start of chapter 2, Tyson starts an address to his colleagues at CERN with the opening line, “As you know, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, was completed in …”. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the novel, and early fears for the narrative are soon realised.

Quantum Radio is a longish story, coming in at 500 pages, but it doesn’t live up to its initial promise of a thriller that will keep the reader guessing if you’re looking for an undemanding read to pass the time, maybe. If you’re looking for something to keep you reading well past bedtime, maybe not.

Quantum Radio is a longish story, coming in at 500 pages, but it doesn’t live up to its initial promise of thriller, which will keep the reader guessing. If you’re looking for an undemanding read to pass the time, maybe. If you’re looking for something to keep you reading well past bedtime, maybe not.

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