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Publisher's Summary

A tawdry tale of love, lust, and murder!

Professor Harold Berwyn has just been brutally murdered, but graduate creative writing student Skip Gershwin is too self-absorbed to care. His chief preoccupations are finding a girlfriend and becoming a famous American poet. When he meets Gudrun Frege, a brilliant Austrian au pair, it appears that his girlfriend problems are over. But he is soon lured into a torrid love affair by ultra-seductive art student Lana Fish. As Skip's romantic entanglements spiral out of control, the criminal investigation into Berwyn's murder turns white-hot. When federal agents knock on his door, Skip discovers that he himself is the number-one suspect.

©2015, 2016 Herbert S. Guggenheim (P)2016 Herbert S. Guggenheim

Critic Reviews

"I started reading this book, taking it as a straightforward mystery with a little romance - but I soon discovered it was so much more. This is a witty, thoughtfully written satire. I found myself laughing out loud at the outrageousness of some of the characters. (Won't spoil the fun by saying who.) The story succeeds on multiple levels, entertaining while imparting a little wisdom now and again. Love the academic world setting. I'll be looking for more from this author." (Kathryn Johnson, author of The Gentleman Poet)

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  • Story

Murder, Mystery, Poetry, Fiction—and FUN!

Guggenheim pumps this first-person work with humor, lessons in poetry, a dab of history, mystery, suspense, and a vestige of rankling love issues. Main character Skip Gershwin is a romantic poet and aspiring well-appreciated literary author. His solipsistic self-centeredness is well balanced with super good intentions, admirable empathy, a high tolerance for burning spermicide foam, and unabashed goofiness. His most likable characteristic is his quick recovery to rejection, berating, corny comebacks, bad decisions, naiveté, self-effacement, and overall life fumbling—albeit with the instant benefits of healing self-licking. Guggenheim skips us along the mind and life and loves of Gershwin and a murder that kind of plays along a as backdrop in the story as he introduces several other characters whose backstories and character development were surface-level and quick, and very appropriate for the strong undertone of wit and parody. Gershwin seems to use clever distraction techniques (thus the humor) as a deliberate ploy to take us off course of the who-dun-it and who’s doing it (the tongue in cheek can make you not care about these aspects of the story), which sweetens the surprise answers in the end.

I think the best audience for this book are those which a high appreciation for humor that manages to be both sophisticated as in the intelligent academia sort and also kind of silly. It wouldn't hurt to have a penchant for a protagonist who is smart and capable, but whose excessive blinders and blinding blunders are unaccountably no match for his ability to successfully dodge bullets with labels that ranged from humiliation to fatal.

The voice, tone, pace, and timing of narrator Joe Hempel were perfectly befitting the myriad temperaments of the protagonist and other characters, the varying depths of humor, and the seamless edge of seriousness. Hempel also nailed female voices without overkill—very well done.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you Audiobook Boom.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Madcap Comedy With Sci-Fi Element!


Violations of Causality takes place in an academic environment straight from the 80's, with unique elements, that combines mystery, science fiction, humor and a little romance. It's been along time since I thought about cassette tapes, Tab soda, Trimline phones, Jimmy Carter etc. However, this book will certainly immerse you with many details from the 80's!

While the story is described as a murder mystery, it's more of a madcap comedy, and the suspense surrounding the motive for the murder, the device that defies physics, and how Skip's going to pull off seeing two women at one time was entertaining, and amusing to hear unfold.

Joe Hempel did a outstanding job narrating, and was a great fit for the main character. I liked how he used different accents, and tones to portray the various characters and emotions. It was easy to distinguish between the characters.

I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Don't read the reviews. Jump right in.

So glad that I hadn't read the reviews before starting the book. Because of this, the comedic elements of the book came as a welcome surprise. I had to go back to the book's audible page to check the genre it was classified in. :P

This book has everything for a good time pass - thrill, suspense and comedic relief. Time well spent.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A funny story about college students in the 80's

Any additional comments?

I was offered a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

The complete title of this book is 'Violation of Causality: a Skip Gershwin Mystery', and there is a bit of mystery here, but the main subject in this book is Skip, a self-absorbed 23 years old student, obsessed about his poetry, which struggles trying to keep two different relationships: Gudrun, the Austrian au-pair, and Luna, the art student. Unable to decide between the two, he will try to carelessly keep both romances. In the meantime there is a mystery at the campus: Astronomy Professor Harold Berwyn has been murdered, but the killer has not yet been found.

I was expecting a bit more mystery, given the title of this book, but we are otherwise given a story set in the 80's about college students, full of surprises and hilarious moments. We discover every character and event in this book through the eyes of Skip, getting a colored vision of what really happened. We get introduced to many characters, so many that I had troubles to remember each of them from time to time, not knowing which ones could be of importance later on in the story. This is one of the key points in this book, since we will get surprised in many ways about what really happened.

There is also a bit of mystery, but that part will not get fully developed until the end of the book, and also a strange sci-fi element related to the dead Professor.

The sci-fi in this story is quite laughable, and I think it goes nicely with the rest of the story, bordering on the absurd.

The chapters are very short, and this makes it suitable for listening at random moments during the day. I tend to listen audiobooks while running errands or performing chores at home, so this length was perfect for it.

All in all it was a very enjoyable read, full of surprises and with very funny moments. The choice of Joe Hempel as a narrator was spot on. He delivered each character in a special way, imitating accents and putting emphasis on the funny aspects of the story. I had a blast listening to this book.

If you are looking for a book different than the rest, a relaxed listen, and something to laugh, I encourage you to listen to this book. Just don't be put off by the tacky cover.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Viiolations of Causality

I enjoyed listening to his book on Audible. Herb did a really good job weaving the romance, science fiction and mystery genres altogether in a very entertaining story.

The narrator had a nice voice but spoke kind of quickly in some places and nuanced some of the vocabulary.

The title stumps me just a bit.

Skip was a fun character and I would love to hear more about his adventures in the future. Hope there will be more to come.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved the learning with this amazing story

Read this one in the car on vacation this week. Joe Kempel is my favorite narrator and he did a wonderful job with this mystery. I would never have expected who the guilty party was, there were so many characters to keep track off and wonder about.
Time well spent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hilarious and totally unexpected!

Violations of causality is a satiric mix of fallen romance and a mystery. When I started the book I was expecting a mystery, but that's just a very small part of the story. I don't know if it was the authors intention to plot a mystery, but that's not the actual plot.

Skip is a 23 year old student. Poet and writer who always seems to have romantic troubles. He meets the Austrian girl Gudrun and enters a relationship with her - not love a first sight, but it's a girl and he likes her. Then he meets the hot and a 36 yo Lana, falls head-over-heels in love with her and now he's in a dilemma. Gudrun or Lana? In between a professor at the University gets killed and Skip gets blamed for the murder.

The book is written in style I'm defenitely not used to, with very short chapters and when I chapter ends it's very abruptly and I wanted to know more. But there will be more. I thought 'huh?' many times and then laughing out loud a lot. I felt I was watching a sitcom with a lot of situation based pitfalls and satiric moments. I'd love to read more novels by this author for my need-to-laugh moments!

Joe Hempel did an outstanding narration catching the humor of this story. He was perfect for this book and very pleasent to listen to. I never had a bored moment. He does the accents and characters perfectly and believable, exept for a few lines in the book where he has to speak German (Austrian) - that was entertaining as well, but it wasn't German. Overall, I always enjoy Joe's narration, so never mind about that!

*This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Mysterious Love Triangle..

Any additional comments?


This is a murder mystery that centers around an odd device and the setting takes place sometime in the 1980's.

Everyone is a suspect, even students and professors.

Skip, the male lead, ends up being THE prime suspect for murder and if that wasn't enough

angst, Skip also tries to juggle between his two girlfriends, Lana and Gudrun.

Although the chapters are short and the book is fast moving, the plot is surprisingly complex.

Overall, this was a well written storyline with numerous clues and misleads.


Joe Hempel did a good job with the narration.

Note:
"This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for
an unbiased review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Violations of Causality

This story was different than what I'm used to and told in a different way. I keep thinking of the coffee shop people snapping their fingers. It felt a little slow. Finding out who done it was quite a surprise. Great narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A madcap romp through time and space

What made the experience of listening to Violations of Causality the most enjoyable?

The reader does an excellent job of reading the novel with inflection and urgency.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Mr. Guggenheim's taut presentation drives the plot along. There is little dross to be found.

Have you listened to any of Joe Hempel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the only reading by Mr. Hempel which I have encountered.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I prefer to savour it.

Any additional comments?

The book itself is well-written. It is difficult to characterize, containing as it does elements of various genres: thriller/noir; science fiction; madcap comedy. The main character, Skip, is not entirely likable. He is a scoundrel in some ways, and yet, he tries to do the right thing. The epilogue to the novel makes it clear that at some point Skip matured into a nicer human being. Perhaps future adventures will reveal this process in more depth.I was able to acquire the audible recording without cost through a promotional event. I have also read the novel in its print edition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful