Another science-fiction–ish thriller from Lerner (Fools’ Experiments, 2008, etc.).
Field-testing Garner Nanotechnology's cutting-edge protective suits, Brent Cleary is caught in a huge explosion. The suit protects him from blast and fire, and its medical nanobots (bacteria-sized machines) shield him from fatal trauma, but he is severely injured. After a long convalescence, Brent returns to work and gradually immerses himself in the technology. Somehow, he seems more committed and smarter than before—at least, to his longtime friend, programmer Kim O'Donnell. Garner's president doesn't mind at all, since he hopes to sell the suit to the U.S. Army. Kim wonders if the nanobots injected into Brent, programmed to die after 24 hours, somehow survived and migrated into his brain via the spinal canal. How else to explain his burgeoning new abilities? But new Brent, who's taken to wearing mirrorshades with direct Web feeds, doesn't seem to have much of a conscience any more. When numerous bums and winos arrive at a local hospital, their spines damaged from clumsy attempts at lumbar punctures, Kim doesn't immediately make the connection. Nor does she yet notice how the guards at Garner's upstate New York facility have taken to wearing Web-feed mirrorshades. Guess what's going on? After a slow start, matters culminate in frothy, desperate action.
Well handled but predictable.