The Geographer's Library
What hath Dan Brown wrought? In this ambitious debut, Paul Tomm, a cub reporter at a small-town Connecticut newspaper, attempts to write the obituary of a local professor who, the coroner casually notes, ”possesses unusually smooth skin” for a man of his age. The observant coroner is killed before he can say more, and as Tomm chips away at the prof’s bizarre biography, Jon Fasman devotes alternating chapters to a murky, byzantine backstory that jumps from 12th-century Sicily to Soviet Kazakhstan to 1970s Ethiopia. There’s a grand underlying plot in The Geographer’s Library, but Fasman takes far too long stitching the pieces together, never achieving the momentum that makes The Da Vinci Code such a breathless read.