We hope you enjoy this book review by Douglas R. Cobb.

Looking for a book that supplies thrills, chills, suspense, and moments of sheer terror? Then Zig Zag, by Jose Carlos Somoza, is the book for you! The serial killer in it, whom the scientists heís after come to know as Zig Zag, slices and dices his victims with abandon, with all of the time in the world at his command. He is, in fact, a product of the scientistsí experiments with string theories, specifically from a time string of a specific moment caught in the life of, they believe, one of them. The killer harbors a grudge against all of them, and picks them off, one by one, while they try to think up a way to stop him. But, how can you stop someone who is like a shadow, and can get into your dreams and make you have evil thoughts? How can you stop someone who is as elusive as the fog, and seems to be as depraved and wicked as the Devil?

The heroine of the novel, Elisa Robledo, is incredibly intelligent and smoking hot, making her both very attractive and intimidating to men. She is a brilliant physics professor at "the School of Engineering at Madridís Alighieri University" (yes, named after Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy which includes the Inferno) who gets recruited when sheís a student to join a select research team working on a secret project on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. Little does she know that messing with timeís very fabric can have deadly and unforseen consequences.

The words "Zig Zag" refer to a few different things in Somozaís remarkable book. Itís the name of the project that she and other scientists are recruited for involving using a particle accelerator, a powerful computer known as SUSAN, and satellites, to photographically capture images from the Earthís past by opening up specific time strings. They want to take photos of things like dinosaurs roaming the Earth, and the crucifixion of Christ. The images they take reveal certain odd injuries or defects, though, of the subjects of the pictures. Body parts are missing, or bloody appearing. The face of a woman in Jerusalem appears to lack eyes or other features. A photo of a glass that was smashed but is seen in the photo as being whole, actually has fragments of it missing.

Besides being also the name the group coins for the killer that relentlessly stalks them, it is a code word they use when they want to gather together and plan their strategy, or to discuss whenever one of their number is murdered by Zig Zag. Viewing the images effects each one of them physically and psychologically, and the effect varies from person to person. Itís called the Impact. At first, Elisa, the team leader Dave Blanes, and the other scientists are lead to believe that the Impact is likely temporary, and that their research will be beneficial to mankind, allowing access to the secrets of mysteries humans have wondered about for centuries. The organization funding the experiments, the Eagle Group, want to use the information, however, militarily. As Blanes tells Elisa, the Eagle Group wants to use the knowledge for things like:

"Espionage. Space imaging that shows not only whatís happening now but what happened ten months or ten years ago, when the enemy had yet to even imagine we were spying. Thatís a good way to get information on terrorist training camps, which are always dissolving, always on the move. Here one day, gone the next, without a trace."
I canít recommend Zig Zag enough. It is a novel that will definitely hold your interest up to the last page. It reminded me a little of Tim Powersí excellent novel, Three Days to Never, which I also reviewed for this web site, as both are very suspenseful and deal with the subjects of physics and time. If you enjoy mysteries that mix in elements of science fact and well-written science fiction, youíll love reading Zig Zag by Jose Carlos Somoza. Who knew Einsteinís theories could be so cool?



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