THRESHOLD by Ben Mezrich


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 Twenty-seven-year-old Mezrich makes a bid for Grisham-level success with this flimsy thriller featuring a mad scientist bent on creating a master race--though cardboard characters and a predictable plot keep getting in his way. Jeremy Ross is happily immersed in the chaotic life of a fourth-year medical student at New York City Hospital on the night that Robin Kelly, a former girlfriend when the two were at Dartmouth, drops into the emergency room to ask for his help. Robin--tearful, terrified, yet lovely as ever--confides to Jeremy her suspicion that the recent death of her father, Secretary of Defense Warren T. Walker, was the result of foul play. She wants Jeremy to steal a copy of her father's death certificate and tell her what he thinks. Dazzled by Robin's beauty, the 24-year-old genetics enthusiast performs as asked--and what he finds makes him wonder whether someone could have introduced a deadly virus into Walker's cells. Jeremy's concern--along with evidence that Robin is indeed being threatened with murder--leads him to the Tucsome Project for Genetic Research, a facility funded largely by the Defense Department, and one that Walker was known to have visited. Enlisting as an intern at the Project, Jeremy investigates the recent death of a researcher with whom Walker had had contact; snoops into the secret activities of charismatic lab director and genetics genius Jason Waters; and wonders about the horrifically disabled children under study at the facility's adjoining hospital. It's hardly surprising that Walker's death turns out to have been genetically engineered--but the murder of a government official is only the tip of the iceberg here, as Jeremy learns while fighting his own nightmares and trying to protect his former love. TV-level melodrama on a big-screen budget. (First printing of 100,000; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 19th, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-017302-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996


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