A remarkable premise for a scientific mystery, hampered by some confusion about the characters’ allegiances.



A drug company scientist heads to Malaysia to investigate deaths in a clinical trial for a new cholesterol drug in this debut novel.

Frank Serono, a senior scientist at New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Annexin, is excited about the prospects for the company’s new wonder drug. The innovative formula has been shown to raise HDL, or good cholesterol, levels and could prevent and reverse atherosclerosis. Unfortunately, an unusually large number of people have died during the clinical trial in Malaysia, and Frank is sent to Kuala Lumpur to talk to the doctors and seek patient records. Accompanied by Annexin’s clinical investigator, Dr. Ethan Sapirstein, Frank finds that a few boxes of patient records have disappeared from the Malaysian facility, and the staff cannot explain how or why they could’ve vanished. As two shady businessmen, also from New Jersey, meet with drug providers in Kuala Lumpur in the hopes of becoming internet pharmaceutical distributors, there is a series of shocking murders. Ethan and three others are found dead, causing Annexin’s leadership to demand more answers from the perplexed Malaysians. From his home base in New Jersey, Frank watches in distress as his hopes for the new drug slowly disintegrate while he seeks those who killed his colleagues. And he conducts even more research, looking for a new yet elusive drug. Curatolo, himself a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, has concocted a terrific premise for a science thriller and murder mystery, full of illuminating but sometimes alarming insights into the drug development and medical fields, along with the addition of some unsavory characters in the pharmaceutical distribution world. The scientific discussions and the plotlines surrounding DNA sequencing and drug research are informed yet not overly technical. But the structure of the novel is a bit more problematic, as the story shifts gears halfway through and one of the villains becomes more of a protagonist. Though a good deal of effort is expended to make the new scenario convincing, the move casts doubt on the tale’s direction and perspective. The author explains that campanilismo is an Italian philosophy: “That everything important in life occurs within the area from which you can see the bell tower (It. campanile) of your town.” Frank’s research goes deeper and deeper yet the book’s central metaphor, taken from the title, never really resonates.

A remarkable premise for a scientific mystery, hampered by some confusion about the characters’ allegiances.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9896566-0-3

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Bayberry Institute LLC

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2018

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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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