A smart, tightly written, scary science thriller.



Rogers’ (Petroplague, 2013) characters must escape the dangers of deadly disease, dangerous wildlife and vicious criminals in this tense medical thriller.

Tessa Price is a brilliant doctor, but an intense phobia of needles and the loss of her infant son to genetic disease have left her with more than enough reason to keep her distance from patients and colleagues. But even if her work is mostly behind the microscope, she desperately wants to help people. When one of her colleagues falls ill just as an experimental gene therapy starts showing results, she rushes to the front lines. The patient, a boy named Gunnar, is showing remarkable improvement in an experimental clinic in Mexico, but while the Palacio clinic avoids American law that would delay Price’s experiments, it comes with its own share of problems. The clinic’s proprietor, Dr. Manuel Vargas, relies on local cartels for medical narcotics. He agrees to treat a kingpin and ends up plunging the Palacio into a drug war. If there’s any real weakness here, it’s Vargas himself. The use of multiple perspectives gives the novel flexibility, but Vargas’ boundless self-interest is so deplorable that he quickly become tiresome. Meanwhile, Price finds herself trapped, hiding from the gangsters along with Gunnar, his mother, a friend and a few other unfortunate—but highly capable—Palacio clients. Matters only get worse as a mysterious illness takes hold of lab animals and people alike, leading them to violence and death. Price wrestles with her deepest dreams and fears, eventually discovering that there may be a connection between her gene therapy and the contagion—a connection that could save or condemn them all. Overall, the novel is an enjoyable ride, remaining tense and exciting without feeling overly dark or oppressive. And while the science is a consistent presence, it’s easy to understand, enriching the story. A rabies plotline unfolds with enough nuance to avoid major pitfalls. And if some sections drag, the payoff is well worth the wait.

A smart, tightly written, scary science thriller.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-940419-01-5

Page Count: 292

Publisher: ScienceThrillers Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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