The God Particle: A Novelby Richard Cox
In one man, that spark is about to explode.
American businessman Steve Keeley is hurtled three stories to the cold cobblestone street in Zurich. In the days that follow, a doctor performs miraculous surgery on Keeley, who wakes up to find that everything about his world has changed. He seems to sense things before they
There is a divine spark within us all.
In one man, that spark is about to explode.
American businessman Steve Keeley is hurtled three stories to the cold cobblestone street in Zurich. In the days that follow, a doctor performs miraculous surgery on Keeley, who wakes up to find that everything about his world has changed. He seems to sense things before they happen, and he thinks he’s capable of feats that are clearly impossible. It’s a strange and compelling new world for him, one he quickly realizes is also incredibly dangerous.
Meanwhile at a $12 billion facility in hardscrabble North Texas, a super collider lies two hundred feet beneath the Earth’s surface. Leading a team of scientists, Mike McNair, a brilliant physicist, works to uncover one of the universe’s greatest secrets–a theoretical particle that binds the universe together, often called The God Particle. When his efforts are undermined by the man who has poured his own vast fortune into the project, McNair begins to suspect that something in his research has gone very, very wrong.
Now, these two men are about to come together, battling mysteries of science and of the soul–and venturing to a realm beyond reason, beyond faith, perhaps even beyond life and death.
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Read an Excerpt
Steve isn’t stupid.
He can tell by the way she keeps stealing glances at him, by the way she follows everything he says with squeaky titters, by the gradually shrinking perimeter of his personal space this afternoon, that Serena wants him.
He’s known about her crush for months. Frequent visits to his office with no real purpose. Hemlines and necklines drifting inexorably toward each other. Projects stretching into evenings, into weekends, into fuzzy, indeterminate hours that find the two of them alone with the soft rumble of the air conditioner and the laboring hip-hop bass signature of her portable CD player. Serena is familiar with her product offering, after all, and she markets it well.
But Steve isn’t stupid. He’s withstood her voluptuous body and subtle signals because sleeping with his administrative assistant would be more trouble than it’s worth, because he’s never cheated on a girlfriend in his life. And if Serena has figured this out by now—tomorrow they’ll be flying back to L.A. after a full week in Switzerland—it hasn’t stopped her from making a last-ditch effort this afternoon.
Which is remarkable, considering that he spent his entire morning searching for an engagement ring. Up and down the sidewalks of the Bahnhofstrasse, beneath the overcast Zurich sky, weaving between men and women dressed in outfits that cost more than Serena makes in a month. Around lunchtime he found a winner, a stunning three-carat solitaire set on a thousand-year-old band forged somewhere in the Alps to the east, a uniquely European item he purchased for just under thirty thousand Swiss francs.
The ring is for his girlfriend, Janine. She’ll be waiting for him at LAX in less than twenty-four hours, one expectant face in a field of them beyond the post–9/11 security checkpoint. A smile and a kiss and a seventy-five-minute drive to Valencia. A dip into the Jacuzzi tub with a Sports Illustrated. And a few minutes later she’ll bring him a lime-garnished Corona, join him in the tub, and he’ll be waiting with the ring.
Serena knows he plans to propose tomorrow evening. She knows because it’s all they’ve been talking about since he met her at the train station and showed her the ring. He even told her about Lucerne, a beautiful lakeside city here in Switzerland, where he plans to take Janine for their honeymoon next summer.
And still Serena casts smoldering glances at him, brushes against his arm a little too often as they walk along the shadowy Limmat River. She takes his hand as they hurry across the rail tracks, just beating an oncoming commuter train.
During a life spent pursuing women, predicting their behavior well enough to have scored more often than most men, Steve still doesn’t understand why women do what they do. Why is Serena so attracted to a man eight years her senior, a man with a serious girlfriend? Why is she more attracted as she listens to him talk about that girlfriend? Perhaps the exotic setting has something to do with it, their visit to this ornate and historic European city. The odd warble of police sirens, the constant rush of intercity trains, the ancient texture of cobblestone streets under their feet. But it’s more likely that Serena’s aggression is driven by the overpowering attraction a woman feels for something denied to her. This isn’t the first time he’s met one who suffers from a fixation on unavailable men.
The two of them pass the train station and make their way toward the Niederdorf, a touristy sliver of Zurich where claustrophobic streets have been closed to all but foot traffic, and multilevel buildings advertise all manner of food and drink and sex. Serena keeps going on about her obsession with Italian food, so Steve is directing them toward Santa Lucia, a busy restaurant with a chef who is a master of masonry-oven pizzas.
Rain begins to splatter the cobblestone street as they push through the Niederdorf crowds. Serena spots Santa Lucia and takes Steve’s hand, compelling him to run. With his other hand he pats the side of his overcoat, reassuring himself with the slight and squarish bulk of the ring box, and groans as he notices a clot of wet and hungry folks in the restaurant’s entryway. He could locate a cab in sixty seconds, after all, and find shelter in the warm, dry bed of his hotel room thirty minutes after that. Instead, he watches as Serena wriggles her way inside, leaving Steve and an elderly Germanic man to brave the rain.
Fifteen minutes later they’re seated in a dark corner of the restaurant. Steve is thoroughly soaked.
“I hope this food is as good as you say,” Serena says. “I’m starving.”
She chatters on while they wait to order, and Steve strug- gles to guide her away from the deeper waters of intimate conversation. He reveals the imminent acquisition of a new product database. He asks her opinion about moving the U.S. Web servers to Zurich. Serena responds by asking whether he prefers Merlot or Chianti, but before he can answer she grabs a passing waiter and orders something that doesn’t sound like either one.
“Janine is going to be so surprised,” she says, turning back to him. “I mean really. Three carats. She is so lucky.”
“Well, it wasn’t the size of the stone I was after so much. I was just looking for something unique.”
“I know, silly. But you have to understand girls. Rings are very important to us. Engagement rings, I mean.”
Steve smiles politely. He’s not sure what else to say.
“Let me see it,” Serena says.
“Come on. Just a peek.”
Steve retrieves the box and places it on the table. He tries not to notice how dark it is in this corner of the restaurant, how candlelight twinkles in Serena’s face as she opens the box and removes the ring. He wishes Janine were here. He wishes she were sitting across the table from him, twirling the ring between her fingers, smiling. He wants to reach out and snatch the ring back. He wants to wipe that dreamy smile right off Serena’s fleshy face.
Instead she presses the ring against her left hand. “Do you mind?”
Steve glares at her, startled.
“It probably won’t fit,” she says. “But I just want to see what it feels like. May I?”
He looks again at the ring. The stone is nearly pure in its color and clarity, a supernova in the candlelight.
“Actually,” he says, “I’d like to put it back now.”
Serena’s smile withers. “Right. Don’t want to tarnish the precious ring with my cooties.”
“Serena, it makes me nervous to have it out. I paid a lot of money for that thing.”
“Money, money, money. Is that all you ever think about, Steve?”
Predictable as they are, Serena’s mood swings constantly amaze him—from sunny skies to tornado warning in an instant—but such volatility has its place, and he’d guess (were he interested in such a thing) that she probably makes love like a monster, probably screams and moans and shouts obscenities that curl paint. But he can’t be interested in such a thing, because tomorrow he’ll be in L.A. with his soon-to-be fiancée, and any guilt Steve incurs here will undoubtedly follow him all the way home. It will taint the first sight of Janine’s smiling face and forever color his memory of the proposal. Serena might even tumble off her precarious ledge of good judgment and fall into the Fatal Attraction abyss.
“Are you going to answer me?” she asks him. Her eyebrows are arched perfectly above heavy liner and green irises. Red lipstick over straight white teeth. Her pink tongue dancing—
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Jesus, Steve, are you so lovesick that you can’t even listen when I ask you a question?”
“I’m sorry. I’m really tired. What did you say?”
She slides the ring box across the table. “It doesn’t matter.”
The waiter arrives with their entrées, and Serena plows immediately into her spaghetti, washing down every other mouthful with a swallow of wine. Steve’s Pizza Dante blisters the roof of his mouth before he finishes the first bite. Their entire bottle vanishes in minutes, and Serena orders another as she uses her fork to chase the last orphaned bits of spaghetti around her plate.
“What’s the matter?” he asks when the waiter takes away their empty plates.
“Come on, Serena. You haven’t said a word in ten minutes.”
“I stopped talking because you weren’t listening.”
“I said I was sorry,” Steve says.
“Answer my question, then. Is money the only thing you ever think about?”
“Of course not. Money is just a means to an end.”
The waiter appears again, and Steve requests the bill.
“Why are you asking for the check?”
“So we can pay. Did you want to stay here all night?”
“Jesus, Steve. Do you ever have any fun?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“I paid this much. Bring the check now. It’s inefficient to remain in the restaurant any longer than necessary. They don’t bring the check, Steve, because they expect you to sit here and have a conversation. That’s what people do over here. They don’t rush home from the restaurant to watch American Idol.”
“We can have a conversation in the cab ride back to the Hilton.”
“Cab ride? I thought we were having a drink after dinner.”
“We have a ten o’clock flight tomorrow morning. We have to be at the airport three hours early.”
Serena stands. “Fine. We better get plenty of sleep now. Wouldn’t want to doze off during the thirteen-hour plane ride to L.A.”
Steve tries to say something, apologize, but she’s already heading for the door. He drops two hundred francs on the table and takes off after her. In the entryway he is confronted with an array of black overcoats, all seemingly identical to his own, and by the time he finds the right one, Serena is long gone. It’s dark now, and the crowds have dwindled to a few umbrella-toting stragglers. Steve has no umbrella. He turns right and walks in the direction of the nearest road, hoping to find a cab quickly. Wet cobblestones glisten beneath his feet. Rain pours from his hair in tickling streams.
Someone grabs him.
He turns quickly, ready to strike, but it’s Serena. She has stepped out from a narrow opening between two buildings, and mascara streaks her face like black ink. She pulls him into the alleyway. Her brown hair is now jet black and draped over her shoulder like thick rope.
“Are you happy, Steve?” she asks, breath humid with garlic and red wine.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s a simple question, honey. Are you happy? Because you don’t seem like it.”
She’s holding him by his upper arms. Her face floats mere inches from his.
“I’m fine. But I think you need some rest.”
“I don’t want you to be fine. I want you to be happy. Ever since I met you—it’s been two years now, do you realize that?—you’ve been so serious, so driven. You think you’ve got this plan, that you’ve got life all figured out, but life is flying right past you and you don’t even realize it. I’ve waited for you to open your eyes, for you to see this for yourself, but you won’t. You can’t. Life isn’t about staying on schedule or making money or retiring by a certain age. It isn’t about marrying some girl just because you think it’s time.”
“What are you—”
“Life is like this,” she says, kissing him with her mouth wide open. Steve is ready to push her away, immediately, but the combination of her lipstick and the wine and the garlic is so human, so organic, that for a split second he enjoys the moment, finally enjoys it. Then he pushes her away.
“No. Stay away from me.”
A percussion of rain envelops them. The nearby buildings seem to shrink even closer. Footsteps of passersby grow louder, then fainter. She stands there, chest heaving, her overcoat wet and clinging. He can’t help but notice the swell of her generous breasts.
“You wanted me,” she whispers. “I could feel it.”
Steve steps out of the alley and she follows him.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Why can’t you just live, Steve? Live! Enjoy yourself. All I want is to see you happy.”
“Then leave me alone. That would make me happy.”
She blinks once.
“You’re an asshole,” she says.
“I’m going to be engaged tomorrow. What kind of person would I be if I betrayed Janine tonight, right before I propose to her?”
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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As man extends his knowledge, new questions arise needing answers and so it is in The God Particle. A super collider has been built in North Texas to find the ultimate particle that makes up the universe. Mike McNair has been hired as chief physicist at the collider facility to run the program. But, as scientists the world over will tell you, outsiders will fund research for the return of fame, power and money, and these same backers will aslo attempt to manipulat eht research, pressuring scientists for quick results. For private reasons, the backer of the super collider orders Mike's boss, Donovan to accept another researcher on the team and Mike suspects she is meant to soon replace him, but he doesn't know why.And the boss wants results--now! Then internal sabotage by a co-worker is discovered to be why they've been getting the results they wanted so far. To add to the story's complexity, an ordinary businessman is having hallucinations following surgery. His visions connect him to the collider. Talented author Richard Cox has opened up new areas for specilation in a field most reders know little about. You'll enjoy the lifelike cast of characters who are all too human with their personal foibles affecting the plot as you read. Enjoy. Recommended for reading pleasure.
The God Particle is an interesting read, to say the least. Mr. Cox manages to combine science, theology, and even a bit of romance in this novel of suspense and intrigue. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development for a couple of the characters, but overall it was a very solid effort. I will certainly look forward to future works by Mr. Cox.
This author is fantastic. Once you start the book you can't put it down until you are finished and then you want to read it over to see what you have missed. It is as good if not better than Cox's first book, Rift.
The story is about two men one, a brilliant young physicist on a search for the force that binds the universe together (the God Particle) and the other, a young business man whose life takes on new meaning after a near death experience. Though the two men seem to be unrelated in the beginning of the story, their paths intersect in very important ways. Cox definitely did his homework with this one. Not only does he delve into the world of physics, but he also explores the fine line between science and religion in a tactful and respectful manner. The story Cox has created is brilliant and intriguing, and is highly recommended if you're looking for something different to read..
The God Particle is one of the most exciting novels this summer. It keeps you guessing, thinking and wanting more. The ending is one that does not let you down. This is not a 'Science Fiction' book... it is a hard science/thriller, and it's amazing. You can tell Cox did his homework and researched everything...down to the smallest detail. If it were up to me, Cox would be considered a best selling author. Watch out Dan Brown and Michael Crichton... you have some serious competition.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an entertaining fast read. I really enjoyed the way the author described some of his pasages. I could really picture the scenes in my head and visualize what the writer was talking about. I really enjoyed the female interest (Kelly) and the interaction she had with Mike. This book really picks up speed in the last half of the book and I couldn't put it down. I am really looking forward to another novel by the writer.
I picked this up a few weeks ago after reading and enjoying 'Rift' by the same author and was extremely entertained. The scientific aspects of the plot were handled in ways that the non-scientific readers can understand it and the plot twists were dramatic and emotional enough to have impact on the reader. All in all this book was a fascinating summer read. I highly recommend it to any interested readers.
I picked up this after it was recommended to me and was thankful to have such an engaging and interesting book to fill my summer days with. The theological discussions that pepper this sci-fi thriller are well thought out and thought provoking and the characters become fleshed out, flawed people that you're truly invested in. I'd recommend this book to anyone that's looking for a book that's not your average page-turner, but rather one that will make you think.
Because you won¿t be able to put this one down. If you have trouble thinking on your own or don't like to push your brain to the limit, I would definitely stay away from Cox's second book. While I won't give it away, the ending will leave you coming back for more. This is a great second novel from a young, up and coming writer. The research that went into the book is phenomenal; Cox most certainly put his heart and soul into his second thriller. At the same time, his writing style makes it so that even if you aren¿t a world renowned physicist, you can understand what is happening. If you like science and physics this is the book for you, and there is even some love plot woven through the pages. All in all, great novel, great writer, and I am looking forward to more from Cox.
Los Angeles-based businessman Steve Keely is in Zurich with his assistant Serena who does not hide how much she wants him although he plans to marry Janine. After a spat with Serena, Steve answers his ringing cell phone to overhear his beloved Janine making love to someone named Barry. Heartbroken he quietly and sadly says goodbye. He picks up a Russian, Ana, in a bar and goes to her place, but someone enters her room and beats Steve up. He goes to the hospital where after physically healing he finds he is able to predict the future with uncanny accuracy and perform things on a par with a Jesus miracle.................. Mike McNair is the head physicist of the North Texas Superconducting Super Collider project. On a plane heading to Dallas, he meets news anchor Kelly Smith over Mark Twain. As they become acquainted his Noble Prize obsession takes back seat to this woman who has opened his eyes to a vast world he ignored. However, she will take a back seat to the universe that Steve shows him when the business mogul desperately turns to the physicist for help as he struggles to cope with powers beyond that of a human.................... THE GOD PARTICLE is a superb science fiction thriller that uses relatively up to date theories on subatomic particles as a base for a terrific action-packed thriller. The amazing feat of this tale is even with a deep science base that educates the reader and plenty of non-stop action, the key players, especially Steve and Mike, seem genuine. Richard Cox writes a deep thriller that will remind readers of Ursula Le Guin¿s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN.................. Harriet Klausner