Review by Andrea Maloney

A young man is killed in the middle of a snowstorm by two hit men using a special pistol. With the victim is the son of Detective Jeff Bagley, David Bagley. He is the the prime suspect in the murder. Detective Bagley is not able to investigate due to his relationship with the suspect so he calls in his old friend, Max Austin, a private investigator who is also an ex-FBI agent.

Max takes the case and soon realizes this isn’t a simple murder case. The victim, Kyle Mossler, was killed with Curare, a rare and lethal poison. Kyle was one of six people involved in a company called Securegard which sells security programs to commercial and government agencies. Max starts to interview the other members of Securegard and discovers some disturbing information. Soon two more members of Securegard die in mysterious ways.

Max finds himself in need of help with the computer angle so he enlists the help of Marisol, an ex-girlfriend and head of the computer fraud division at the FBI. As the investigation continues this just become more confusing and baffling. Soon events spiral out of control and he finds himself in jeopardy along with Marisol and another member of Securegard. And just when Max has it all figured out, he finds there is more to it than he ever imagined.

Mark Bouton has written an intriguing mystery with a likable hero who uses analogies involving astronomy hence the title. The plot was interesting with enough twists and turns to keep you involved although the ending seemed a bit over the top…although in this day and age maybe not. Max was an agreeable character although I would have liked to have learned more about some of the other characters. Most of the female characters seemed a little too good to be true with Max chasing after them like a teenager in lust. Bouton is a retired FBI agent who uses his knowledge of the FBI to his advantage when writing about the FBI and police. Even with the flaws Max Unlocks the Universe is a good read with a likeable hero.


Andrea Maloney is a stay at home mom and jewelry designer who loves to read. Her favorite books are mysteries, suspense and thrillers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters and one large cat.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice