An abundance of information, little intrigue and even less drama.


Murder at a Montana-based laboratory exposes the private grievances and fraternizations of the lab’s employees as well as a Russian plot to acquire biological weapons.

At the annual summer picnic for the Research Institute for Applied Immunology, Dr. Derek Meyer, the laboratory’s director of operations, is found dead in his car, the cause of death a mystery. Less than six months later, Dr. Jim Dellinger, the executive director of the same facility’s Department of Diagnostic Laboratories, is also found dead, shot in the back on the Institute’s grounds in Greeneville, Mont. Unequipped to deal with even the possibility of murder, the lab calls in the FBI to investigate, and agents find themselves immersed in a seemingly unremarkable workplace, where interoffice romances abound; even the genius scientists have the typical disdain for their bosses, whom they see as little more than financial officers and bureaucrats. Research at the lab is far from commonplace, however, and the feds soon find out the unassuming laboratory is ground zero for stem cell research, gene therapy and even the study of biological agents, making it a target for both industrial and international espionage. Heifets (African Exposure, 2010) uses the FBI’s questions to delve deeper into these subjects and numerous others ranging from Russian history to genetically modified foods as he attempts to use the veneer of a murder mystery to introduce these wide-ranging subjects. However, the dialogue they are presented in feels unnatural, more like dense lectures than conversations, with each lab employee just a little too polite, a little too cordial, especially for people dealing with the deaths of their co-workers while they themselves are possibly suspects. Though these long-winded discourses are frequently informative, well-researched, even timely, they dominate the novel so as to overpower its narrative, leaving little room for character development. When it is finally revealed that Russian spies are targeting the lab, the specifics seem anticlimactic because they have been given no more emphasis than anything else.

An abundance of information, little intrigue and even less drama.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1480909397

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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