Mathematics of Eternity is the first book in a new series by David M. Kelly. Joe Ballen is a cab driver who used to work as an engineer in space until he was almost killed. After getting framed for the murder of his fare (who actually committed suicide), he finds himself on the run from the law and other nefarious people.
I found the ultimate premise of the book (which I won’t share as it would spoil the ending) very interesting. Kelly is very good at coming up with interesting ideas, as I noted in my review of his short story collection last year. Mathematics of Eternity one went down a different path than I expected, which is a good things. It kept me on my toes.
The main character, Joe Ballen, was fairly solid. He was sympathetic as well as driven. He also had flaws, so he wasn’t invincible. The characters that surrounded him, however, were all over the chart. Dollie, is nymphomaniac—though perhaps that’s not entirely accurate, given the description given of her in the book—boss drove me nuts. She seemed eager to jump into bed with anything that breathed, which got old after a while.
Tana’s perpetual grumpiness worked for the first few chapters after we meet her, but then acted like an unwanted anchor in dragging down Mathematics of Eternity. She’s an important character, but I didn’t care at all for her. Perhaps that’s how I was supposed to feel, but I think I’m supposed to like the good guys, but it didn’t ever happen with her.
I think my main issue with the story was that almost all of the characters seemed to be flat. Most of them were at least partially jerks, too. It was like they didn’t have any focus in their own lives, and were only drifting through the story. They lacked serious depth which would have made them more interesting and likable. Even Ballen didn’t make me really care about him.
The story contained a fair bit of innuendo and sexual references, which wasn’t to my taste. I found it detracted from the story, not really adding anything that moved things along. I don’t remember his age being mentioned specifically, but I imagined Ballen being in his late 30s or early 40s. Despite that, he seemed to think and act like a hormone-addled teenager in many of the scenes.
Even with the parts I didn’t like, Mathematics of Eternity was still enjoyable in a popcorn-flick way. For me, it didn’t completely work, but it worked well enough to not regret my time reading it. I know quite a few people who would like this book, and I will be recommending it to them.
Release Date: February 16, 2017 (USA)
ISBNs: 0995329419 (9780995329416)
Publisher: Nemesis Press
Review copy kindly provided by the author.
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (regular social drinking)
Language: 3 (frequent mild, infrequent stronger, deity)
Sexuality: 2 (regular strong innuendo and sexual references)
Violence: 3 (some fighting, beating, explicit descriptions of death, multiple deaths)