An eye-popping glimpse of a near future when designer drugs are commonplace, from the author of Raising Stony Mayhall (2011, etc.).
It’s a future where anybody with a chemjet printer and a recipe from the Internet can create designer drugs. In Toronto, biochemists Lyda and her genius wife, Mikala, IT whiz Gil, finance specialist Edo and lab tech Rovil start a company dedicated to developing a drug that would combat schizophrenia. They achieve success with Numinous, but the drawbacks, alas, become apparent too late: It’s addictive, the effects are permanent—and those who take it gain the unshakable conviction that a personal deity accompanies them. Worse, after taking a massive overdose—how this all comes about emerges only gradually—Lyda stabs a now-estranged Mikala to death, or so it appears. Gil takes the blame; Edo goes hopelessly crazy; Rovil seems functional. Declared insane, Lyda’s locked up along with her invisible companion, a guardian angel called Dr. Gloria. While incarcerated, Lyda learns that a drug very much like Numinous has hit the street in the form of a sacrament dispensed by a new church. To prevent an epidemic of psychotic zombies, she must escape, locate the other survivors of the original five and put a stop to it. She’ll need the help of Ollie, a brilliant but drug-ravaged intelligence analyst. Among the obstacles they’ll negotiate are a drug-dealer gang of Afghan women; Native American cigarette smugglers who take great delight in outwitting the U.S. Border Patrol; and Vincent, a psychotic assassin who farms miniature buffalo in his living room. This taut, brisk, gripping narrative, dazzlingly intercut with flashbacks and sidebars, oozes warmth and wit.
A hugely entertaining, surprising and perhaps prophetic package that, without seeming to, raises profound questions about the human mind and the nature of perception.