|The book only becomes science fiction towards the end. For most of it, it follows the format of a mystery in which there are several murders (which remain mysterious to the reader until near to the end) and a team of investigators including a private eye and a defense lawyer. Mathematics becomes implicated relatively early on and so the lawyer seeks out the help of a brilliant mathematician who explains a bit about fractals to her, after which they start sleeping together.
More specifically, the heroine, the defense attorney, must represent a
woman accused of killing her husband who returned suddenly after a
long absence. It turns out that he was part of a research
project involving a psychologist and a Nobel prize winning
mathematician. (NB: Unlike Ratner's Star in
which the author makes a point of the fact that the Nobel prize
received by Twillig is the first prize in mathematics, Willhelm
apparently does not know that there is no Nobel in math.) They were
performing experiments in which fractal images are used to "expand"
subjects' minds so that they develop stunning abilities.
Despite the cover (a splash of colorful fractals), the subtitle (a mystery of chaos) and the presence of several mathematicians (the heroine's lover as well as several of the "villains") there is not much math here. The little that there is is a vague discussion of fractals (no real discussion of chaos at all).
I'd hate to discourage other people from reading this book,
especially if you have liked any of the other books by this
prolific author, but the truth is that neither I nor my wife liked it
very much. There were certainly some good points, but mostly it
seemed like a not very interesting idea that was padded out to be a
novel. Moreover, we found the characters' motivations a bit hard to
identify. In particular, the first murder (an experimenter killing a
child supposedly because he was jealous of the child's tremendous
ability) seems a bit far fetched and the actions of another character
(a gay, AIDS fearing, homicidal maniac who sycophantically adores a
leading female character) make no sense at all.