Author name: Rolf Margenau
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
For a thriller, this is a lighter-hearted romp, where difficulties are readily swept aside and worries evaporate before the heroes, Dr. Lucy Mendoza and Grant Duran, the latter an ex-Marine with a network of friends and a range of skills that might make James Bond envious.
Lucy Mendoza leads the Longevity project, a medical research team tasked with examining the potential of a new enzyme that seems to help healthy cells live longer. She’s overseeing a test group of patients who all seem to be revitalized by the drug, and others are taking notice.
The government is worrying about the Social Security costs should senior citizens start living longer thanks to the drug while some of Lucy’s pharmaceutical funding partners see this as the next multimillion dollar pill—if they can get the rights to the drug and keep it for themselves.
While some just want to discredit the program, others are hoping to throw the project off balance by eliminating Lucy, but she isn’t completely surrounded by enemies. One recent hire to the Longevity project is someone she once considered as more than a friend—Grant Duran, the man she was going to marry before he enlisted with the Marines.
The two move beyond their past struggles and heartache quickly, though, and as Lucy and the Longevity project come under attack, it’s up to Grant to use his list of contacts and his military skills to figure out who or what they’re up against…before it’s too late.
The story is fast-paced and features a large cast, from government leaders to assassins to the evangelical preacher who is calling into question humanity’s right to “play God.” At times, the characters’ various threads can be hard to follow, but with villains like Pinch, Krass, and Schmutz, their names make their roles in the story quite clear.
Imaginative and apparently grounded in science, the novel raises the question of whether medically-assisted long life is desirable and could provide a book club with a useful framework for discussion, but the book itself doesn’t seem to make any particular judgments for or against the idea. It merely examines some of the facets affected and leaves it up to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions, though the usefulness of the medical community is never greatly questioned—just how to use what the medical community learns.
There are gaps in the plot, though, where things just conveniently happen so the story can keep moving forward or to eliminate a problem without elaboration, and one of the most obvious is where Lucy and Grant’s relationship is concerned. Though there are hints of romance in this book, it’s not structured to where readers will get to experience how Grant earns Lucy’s trust again—that’s just presented as a fact and readers are expected to move on to the action and imaginative plot twists ahead.
Thoughtful yet fast-paced, readers who enjoy medical thrillers with a dose of adventure will want to pick up this book. Its mix of humor, irony, medical science, and action will provide readers with a fun ride.
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