Piper’s debut novel provides a modern twist on the Frankenstein trope of a man who creates a monster.
The story opens with the shady circumstances under which Harmond Crane creates his genetically modified son, Daniel. From there, the narrative zips through his youth when he discovers his powers. As an adult, Daniel tries to live a normal life but keeps getting sidetracked for examination by researchers. The last of these is Diane Krueger, a psychiatrist up for a Nobel Prize for a drug she created that could normalize Daniel. She takes him into her clinic to study his inhuman physiology and talents, and ends up falling in love with him. Too many people find Daniel a threat to their interests, and several collude to impede or destroy him, with Diane as collateral damage. The book accelerates in pace and danger as the lovers adopt an us-against-the-world mentality. Meanwhile, a policeman who’s been after Harmond for decades zeroes in from the outside. The narrative viewpoint shifts continually to provide a steady stream of information and insights into each character’s motivations and neuroses. But that cycle shortchanges the most important and interesting character: Daniel. His unique powers are sketched in scientific terms and occasionally a chapter dips into his psyche; however, the book focuses more on the characters that readers know well: twisted parents, spineless friends, narrow scientists and tenacious cops. Most are self-serving and unlikable, lacking in conscience. Integrity is maintained by Daniel and Diane, who, despite entering the story late, becomes the central character based on the number of pages she’s on stage and the number of men who are involved or obsessed with her. She struggles with the challenge of balancing her ethics as a researcher against her heart, but ultimately the choice narrows down to a simple right versus wrong.
A predictable thriller with a high body count, uneven character development and a victorious romance.