CHANGE AGENT by Daniel Suarez

CHANGE AGENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the year 2045, Singapore-based Interpol agent Kenneth Durand's campaign against black-market gene editing is set back when he's injected with a synthetic "change agent" that transforms him into the spitting image of his evil nemesis.

That would be Marcus Demang Wyckes, ruthless head of the human-trafficking Huli jing cartel. What makes Durand's transformation shocking and spectacular is that the only known altering of DNA segments has been performed on embryos, to meet parents' desires for healthier, smarter, or more attractive offspring. Jabbed with a needle by one of Wyckes' men, Durand has his entire genomic code rewritten, a procedure that takes months to complete and leaves him in a coma from which he was not meant to recover. The plan was to have him die looking like Wyckes so people would think the cartel head was dead and Durand's successors wouldn't keep pursuing him. Durand escapes but finds himself chased by both bad guys who want to kill him and law enforcement agents who think he's Wyckes while he heads to Malaysia to have a black-market geneticist restore his original DNA via a risky reverse edit. Along the way, we are introduced to ultrasophisticated police drones, tiny Shrimp cars, and drug printers that produce synthetic opioids from mundane ingredients. While the action scenes are plenty lively, the best thing about the book is its depiction of a troublesome future in which people can change physical identities the way they change clothes. The tattoos that appear on Durand's arm when he's angry and recede when he isn't are only one of the novel's cool details.

A natural at making future shocks seem perfectly believable, Suarez (Influx, 2014, etc.) delivers his most entertaining high-tech thriller yet.

Pub Date: April 18th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-101-98466-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017




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