THE PROTOCOL by April Christofferson


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Bumpy debut woman-in-periler pits a fatuous head of a trendy Seattle biotech company against a headstrong lawyer determined to avenge the death of her husband and child. Did Dr. Sherwood Fielding, smooth-talking, Armani-clad director of BioGenetech who privately dreams of cloning himself, finance his company by operating a human chop-shop that sold organs to the rich and politically powerful? Lawyer Jennifer Rockhill is almost sure that Fielding’s need for a rare spare had something to do with her family’s suspicious deaths when he was practicing medicine in California, but she needs proof, so she applies for a job at Fielding’s firm as a lawyer specializing in biotech issues. Of course, she’s not a specialist, but, with the right clothes and the right smile, she charms Fielding and gets the job. Meanwhile, dashing, handsome Matthew Pace, a former CIA agent currently employed as an industrial spy by a rival pharmaceutical firm, is assigned to snoop around Fielding’s operation, to check on rumors that he might be secretly cooking up nasty biological weapons. Of all BioGenetech’s numerous employees, it’s Jennifer that Matthew decides to romance. Soon Jennifer learns that Fielding’s company is nearly broke and that if his attempt to go public fails, he’ll have a sudden, desperate need for cash. Caught by brainy, transvestite scientist Patricia Lukins, she blabs her revenge plan, only to be unwittingly snared in the schemes of Angelique Mannington, Fielding’s right-hand woman and kinky bedmate. Matthew and Jennifer grow closer. Jennifer discovers that Matthew is really a great guy with two kids and a wife dying tragically of cancer. It doesn’t take long before both run afoul of a mysterious Frenchman, whose breezy murders hide darker lusts. Science as a prime-time TV soap, with tons of techno-talk that doesn’t add believeablity to the story’s unconvincing premise.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86638-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999