The Stars Turned Inside Out

Nova Jacobs

Atria Books 2024

ISBN 978-1-6680-1854-5

“The Stars Turned Inside Out” is a murder mystery filled with frightening implications along with questionable ethics regarding the ownership of scientific discoveries

The novel plays out inside the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider operated by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It’s there that the irradiated body of scientist Howard Anderby is discovered by the chief operating officer. The area had been cordoned  off for maintenance and Anderby did not have clearance to enter the collider.

Because CERN is located in an autonomous scientific village, Director Yvonne Faye and Group Leader, Chloé Grimaud, decide to exclude the International Police Commission (INTERPOL) based in France from the investigation. Instead they recruit their old college classmate, Sabrine Leroux, one of Geneva’s top private investigators, to handle the probe into the unexplained death.

Leroux spends hours going through poor quality security videos. (CERN preferred to spend their money on research rather than security). When she gets around to interviewing Anderby’s two closest friends, yet another body is discovered inside the collider. Meanwhile, some evidence surfaces that scientific data had been leaked to a foreign government.

The second person found dead was the flamboyant Niels Thorne, a Canadian physicist, who in a vague way had been working with CERN Research Director Simon DeVries. DeVries, described as someone whose “ambition radiated from him like an embarrassing stench,” was desperate to win the Nobel Prize.

Running parallel with Leroux’s inquiries and insight into CERN’s research work, the reader is privy to the secrets of Anderby and his coworker, Eva Marsh. Their scientific goals and objectives, it turns out, are not in line with CERN’s mission.

It all boils down to some modern intrigue, focused on a scientific project that many potential readers, like myself, know little or nothing about. With a book like this, you not only learn but become immersed in a fascinating mystery.