Invivo - Robert Brown

I'm not sure I can list the problems with this book without hitting the character limit on a post (not sure if WordPress has one, Goodreads does, though). Were this only the story of a grieving scientist driven to some sort of insanity (temporary or otherwise), I might have been able tolerate it. But no, it's so much worse.


  • The book promises to be about X, quickly becomes about Y (with a hint of Z) and then ends up being about R and S. I can live with that kind of things sometimes (maybe even enjoy it), but since X and S are so far removed from each other I had no tolerance for it with this novel.
  • The dialogue is wooden, clunky, and far too wordy.
  • The characters act more due to authorial fiat rather than organically (this isn't 100% true, but it happens enough that I can list it here in good conscience.
  • There's a mystery here "solved" in a ridiculous and fanciful way -- the police were so useless that a medical doctor and genetics researcher is able to read a couple of books (that he received in record time) about sociopaths and is equipped to solve. And he does so in ridiculously short manner.
  • Maybe I'm wrong -- I could be -- but the science here is so outlandish that Jules Verne wouldn't buy it. It's so far beyond "fringe" science that Walter Bishop would scoff at it.


This is just poorly constructed, and I just can't buy any of the plot-lines. The writing is stiff, lifeless and yet sloppy. For example, one scene starts in a staff meeting with the main characters and his assistants, and mid-conversation it jumps to another mid-conversation with his wife. Also, I'm not sure if the repeated use of a racial slur was because Brown was trying to show just how despicable a character was or if Brown was showing us how despicable he was (given the fact that the character seemed to be being shown in a redemptive light while using the slurs, I'm pretty sure it wasn't that). Even the stuff that I could say was better about this book seemed too contrived -- the romances, the scientific breakthroughs, the friendships, and so on. It just was lousy.


Disclaimer: Actually, this probably doesn't need a disclaimer, because I clearly wasn't influenced by anything -- but I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. Sorry about that, Mr. Brown. Also sorry that it took me 8 more months than I expected to get to it, but . . . something tells me you wouldn't have minded me waiting longer.