Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Tortoise Shell Code - V. Frank Asaro

    2012; 400 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Genre : Legal Thriller, Philosophy.  Overall Rating : 2½*/10.

     Attorney Anthony Darren stands accused of arranging for the Sea Diva, a friend’s tuna boat, to be scuttled while at sea in order to collect the insurance money.  Admittedly, there is some circumstantial evidence, along with some false testimony.  But surely the American judicial system will correctly find him innocent, won’t it?

What’s To Like...
    The plotline is easy to follow, and you don’t have to worry about figuring out whodunit.  If you’re looking for the answer to Life, you might find it here.

What’s Not To Like...
    The book cover implies that this is an Action-Adventure tale, and for the first third of the book, it shows some promise of doing that.  But just when you’re ready for some studly protagonist to start investigating the sinking, the story changes into a Grisham-wannabee.  I don’t do Grisham books.

     But count your blessings, because from there it degenerates into the author’s self-promotion of his pet philosophy – something he calls “co-opetition”, a portmanteau (I always wanted to use that word in a review) of “cooperation” and “competition”.  I don’t do philosophy books.

    The writing is weak. All the plot twists are telegraphed, so the story never develops any tension.  There are some awkward similes (“Hal rapped his knuckles on Anthony’s desk and cocked his head like a raptor tracking prey”).  The court trials are unbelievable, which is exacerbated by the author’s claim that he is an attorney.   Worst of all are the abundant YFKM’s (You’re f**king kidding me!), incredible coincidences that will have you rolling your eyes again and again.

Kewlest New Word...
    Palliation : the making of a crime less grave and less reprehensible.

    “I just wish I could be there but sometimes the eagle flies and empty the aerie lies.”
    “What’s that mean?” she asked.
    He looked down the length of the corridor, at all the barred doors of the “houses,” the grimy tiles, the hand-printed walls.  And, eventually, a closed and locked door.  “Nothing,” he said.  “Just one of those little quotes I picked up along the way.”   (loc. 6442 )

Kindle Details...
    I bought The Tortoise Shell Code for $9.99 at Amazon.  The paperback version is $24.95.

“A theory that explains everything explains nothing.”  (loc. 4795)
    V. Frank Asaro has another book at Amazon, titled “Universal Co-opetition: Nature’s Fusion of Competition and Cooperation”.  It is non-fiction, and came out about 10 months before The Tortoise Shell Code.  The latter (I assume) touts the same principles as given in the former, but with a piece of fiction thrown in on top for entertainment value.

     I suspect that TTSC is one of those books that an author writes strictly for himself.  Mr. Asaro postulates that co-opetition can be used to solve all the problems of the world, and explain everything from art and music to something which still eludes the brightest physicists of our day - the Grand Unification Theory of Quantum Mechanics.  Really.  I am not making this up.

     Personally, I ascribe to Douglas Adams’ theory that “42” is the answer to life, the Universe, and everything else.  So I can only rate this 2½ Stars.  But if you happen to know the author (or are him) add another 5 stars.

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