RECEPTOR by Alan Glynn


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Sixty years apart, two men try to uncover the truth behind an astonishing cognitive enhancement drug called MDT-48.

Ned Sweeney is an advertising executive in 1950s New York City, though there are plenty of guys above him on the ladder. His family and house are all middle of the road. One Friday night, Ned and his boss, Matt Drake, have drinks at the apartment of Matt’s old war buddy. When Ned stumbles out a few hours later, he experiences a bizarre hypersensitivity to his surroundings: “torrents of information [are] coming at him, unbidden and unfiltered,” along with a heightened sense of confidence. For a brief time, at least mentally, he’s Superman. When Ned returns to work and finds out Matt was found dead under bizarre circumstances not long after they parted, Ned’s need to find out what really happened that night—and his need to make it happen again—takes on a new, dark energy. Ned’s story runs parallel to the present day, when his grandson, Ray, a fact checker, crosses paths with a nonagenarian who knew Ned and has surprising information about his life and death that has roots and branches at the highest levels of government and big pharma. Glynn (Paradime, 2016, etc.) juggles the two narratives with aplomb, expertly twisting and jerking the reader through Ned's and Ray’s quests for answers. This novel expands on the world of Glynn's The Dark Fields (2001), which has been made into both a movie and a CBS television show. Readers can easily envision Ned and Ray on the big screen, too, so cinematic and fast-paced are their stories. Though Ned’s narrative can get a bit silly—he has a tendency to bump into 1950s celebrities while chemically boosted on MDT-48—the novel is mostly just fun.

A light, entertaining sequel that expands on the original’s promising premise.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-06180-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Picador
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2018


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