An entertaining debut that’s just what the doctor ordered.

THE EDEN PRESCRIPTION

THE WAR ON CANCER IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK...

Sinister forces stop at nothing to squelch a medical breakthrough in this adrenalized thriller.

You’d think everyone would rejoice over a cure for cancer, but if it’s a cheap and un-patentable cure, shadowy interests that profit from cancer treatments may find it more of a threat than a boon. That’s what Annika Guthrie and Elliott Lindell, researchers for competing pharmaceutical companies working on concurrent trials for rival chemotherapy drugs, didn’t count on. As alternative medicine enthusiasts, the pair have teamed up to secretly give their patients a cocktail of natural supplements and plant extracts formulated by Elliott’s brilliant computer model of cancer cells. Annika’s joy over the resulting miraculous remissions turns to dismay when said patients start dying off in suspicious accidents. But that’s par for the course in a medical-industrial complex where every slovenly lab tech is a spy and paramilitary squads are a cost of doing business. Soon everyone is after Elliott’s model, including Russian assassin Sydney (née Stalina) and a sinister outfit known as The Trust that is led by a never-seen man named Smoke whose cigarette-hoarsened voice on speaker-phone tirades suggests a looming need for the cure. Assisted by Annika and her long-suffering husband Peter, Elliott pinballs around the world on a complex and not quite coherent plan to save his life’s work (and his life). The author includes a bibliography on natural cancer treatments, but Elliott’s all-important cancer model is mainly a MacGuffin that propels a frenetic plot that makes no more sense than is strictly necessary. (One character hits on a strategy so sane and obvious—publicize the formula and sell it out of a Tijuana clinic—that you just know it will end badly.) Fortunately, Evers is a skillful writer who expertly choreographs a sprawling cast of colorful characters. He balances nifty oncology procedural with suspenseful intrigue and taut action scenes that teeter between agonizing stand-offs and jolting shocks. The result is an engrossing, well-paced thriller that will keep your heart rate up.

An entertaining debut that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2010

ISBN: 978-1439276556

Page Count: 322

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

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THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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