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Archive for the ‘thriller’ Category

shotgunarcana_cvr

R.S. Belcher returns us to the fantasy-filled, steampunk wild West world of Golgatha. Golgatha is a strange little town where all is not quite as it seems and it is populated with strange, enigmatic, and in some cases, terrifying characters. In Shotgun Arcana, Belcher returns with some the old crew: Maude Stapleton (the female assassin/pirate), Jon Highfather (the sheriff that is seemingly unkillable), Mutt (the half-Indian/ half coyote … still trying to figure out that arrangement), Jim Negrey (the deputy with the strange jade eye) and Malachi Bich (the mysterious, charismatic fallen angel). Believe me, there is quite an intriguing roster of delightful characters I’d love to mention but that would make me a complete and proper tosser and it would deprive your curiosity. Translation: you’ve got to read this book … but don’t take my word for it. Oh alright then … please do be a good sport and take my word … just a wee bit.
It is the year 1870, and Golgatha had just endured a wee little Wurm problem a year ago (something about plunging the universe in darkness and chaos … yeah, small stuff … please see the first book). As the residents of Golgatha begin to pick up the pieces and life seems to return to normal (if there is ever such a thing as normal in the town of Golgatha), a new evil rears it head in the horizon. No, it is not a Bruce Jenner reality show chronicling his “changes”. The horror, the bloody horror. A mythical skull said to contain a vile force, that once released would turn the world into a murderous fury, is sought by a mysterious Ray Zeal (who apparently had a past with Malachi Bich). Even worse, a collection of some of the vilest beings, ever imagined, are all being summoned by a strange sinister force. How file are these wankers you say, let’s just say that they make those ISIS assholes look like a bunch of daisy-picking, little girls … dressed in pink tutus. Come to think of it ISIS backwards is SISI. I’ve detoured slightly. And guess where all these fine specimens of gene pool maladies converge on? Ah yes, the unwitting town of Golgatha. No rest for the wicked, yeah?
So as Golgatha gears up fo another cataclysmic showdown of apocalyptic proportions, some interesting are added to the Golgathan roster: a female Pinkerton agent, a Madame that could probably take down Rhonda Rousey very easily (Rhonda can, however, take me down ANYTIME), and a bouncer that is a well-read, teddy bear with the personality of glacier (wtf … you say … trust me). And that’s just the folks on the good side.
Shotgun Arcana is like a runway train, hopped up on meth, careening into blinding lightspeed as the suspense and action takes readers into an explosive conclusion that could only be measured in kilotons. And it will have most readers jonesing for the sequel. This IS, after all, trilogy, right Mr. Belcher?

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drone_cvr

The story opens with some Somali military tosser walking around thinking he’s the dog’s bollocks as he debates releasing aid (donated food), that has been held ransom, to his FELLOW countrymen. Aye, not like this kind of bollocks EVER happen in the real world. Until he’s contacted by some ominous presence via his large screen HD telly that he has to comply with his deal to release the aid in consideration of the large sums that has been paid into his Cayman accounts. But since this bloke is tosser, like most Third World tosser, he decides to toy with the patience and decency of the West … and then he and his entire military compound, filled with armed bullies, are surgically dispatched by a drone. Hence the title.
And of course, the action at this point kicks into full gear.

Tony Pearce is former special operations agent that once worked for the CIA and now runs Pearce Research Systems that specializes in designing everything from next-generation prosthetics to …well… next generation combat machinery (i.e. drones). On some weekends, when Pearce is not designing the latest precursor to Skynet, he is sometimes running black ops on behalf of President Margaret Myers (yes, we’ve got female president … finally … too bad it’s in fiction … never fear … not too far off … I hope … and yes, I’ve detoured) testing out his drones on bad guys. When a bunch of teenagers, at a house party in El Paso, is surgically massacred by a Mexican drug cartel, the crap hits the fan in Capitol Hill. However, when one of the victims of the massacre turns out to be the President’s son (a teacher that was hanging out at the party with … apparently … his students) that’s when the shit gets real … and personal. Soon Tony Pearce is asked a favour by President Myers, and no … it doesn’t involve bringing home a gallon of 2% lowfat milk. And as the cartels find themselves in the crosshairs of Myers, unknown to them, they’ve unwittingly allied themselves with an Iranian double agent that uses them for his own ulterior motives. Motives that involve using Pearce as an unwitting pawn into something even more frightening and threatens to push America over a dangerous precipice.
Machiavellian schemes (from Mexico to Capitol Hill) coupled with adrenaline-drenched action … all marinated in gut-wrenching suspense makes Drone a very hard book to put down. Bodily functions and sleep be damned. It is Mr. Maden’s debut novel and what a bloody debut it is. A delightful yet terrifying bit of fiction on the fascinating world unmanned combat. On the cover of Drone there are the words “Introducing Tony Pearce”. I’d like to say “nice to meet you … and I’m looking forward to more of your work”.

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6guntarot_cvr

Yes, I know … it is February and it is the month that we have Valentine’s day and this year … the premiering of the Fifty Shades movie. Now I know what some of you folks are thinking. Is this the moment that the Evil Parrot takes one for the team (whatever team that may be) and actually … dare I say it .. read and review some erotica. And this is the part where I laugh and say … like bloody hell I would. So yeah … I’m afraid no erotica, but instead scary stuff. That’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. So enough with the bollocks and lets get on with it, yeah?
In 1869 Nevada, Jim Negrey is a wanted man on the run. He carries with him his six-shooter, a nearly empty canteen of water, and a false jade eye that was once his father’s. As he and his horse, Promise, painstakingly prepare to die from starvation, he is rescued by Mutt, a half breed: half man and half coyote. Yes, that was not a mistake … you did read the word, coyote. Apparently Mutt is some sort of shape-shifter.. Jim finds himself in a town called Golgatha. And this is where things begin to get dicey. In Golgatha, there are strange types and strange worlds where science and sorcery meets in an almost delightful but symbiotic blend. And as a war rages in the heavens (aye, there angels involved in this), an ancient evil more ancient than time itself threatens to awaken and wreak havoc on the world. No it’s not Kanye West’s ego or another frightful narcisistic endeavour by the Kardashians. Nay, it is something much more evil and called the Voidling. And caught in the ground zero of this glorious event is the delightful town of Golgatha and delightful handful of characters whom the fate of the world depends upon: a mayor that is hoarding treasure and secrets (such as a gay lover named Ringo); a banker’s wife that belongs to a secret order of pirates and assassins and the cult of Lilith; a sheriff that bears the mark of many nooses around this neck and is seemingly unkillable; a shady saloon whose got his fingers in everyone’s business and knows more of town’s dark true origins. Are ye intrigued at this point? Like bloody hell you should.
It is my first (yes, I have to shamefully admit) steampunk novel. Aye, I know … scandalous … I am such a naughty boy. What next, erotica? Gasp. Here we go again. But then again … anything for my readers/followers. So there, my first steampunk novel and I loved it. In Tarot, Belcher has written an intriguing western that is delightfully marinated in the worlds of science and sorcery, trickling over with copious yet well measured amounts of drama, humour and suspenseful action. The characters are delightful and you will find yourself attached to many, and every intriguing, suspense-filled page that urges you onward the teeth-clenching-teddy-bear-squeezing climactic conclusion that’ll take your breath away. And yes, I do have a teddy bear … named Mr. Noodles. Totally trampling over my Evil Parrot persona like a total tosser. Bloody hell. Great debut, Mr. Belcher and … cheers.

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mistermercedes_cvr

Sorry for the late post. It has been a wee bit crazy this month at my library. I now hate teachers … you get summer off and we get the privilege of running around the stacks hunting the TONS of books that you so casually compiled for your pupils. For some reason I can hear Q Lazarus’ Goodbye Horses playing in my ear the more I think of this. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing the Buffalo Bill dance routine to it. But enough about the bollocks and no let’s head off the matter at hand (if I haven’t creeped you out at this point).
It is clear to me that there is NOTHING out there that Stephen King can’t take and into suspenseful, horrifying prose. Absolutely nothing. So taking a cue from the current state of employment in this country, the book starts out with a bunch of people lining up in the pre-dawn hours at a site for job interviews. Yes, apparently there are things more important that iPhones and other such bollocks worth waiting for in line. It is a scene that reads like a near-dismal modern day version of Grapes of Wrath minus the billowing tumbleweeds and complete dark looming clouds of despair. A young woman, with a baby, befriends a gentleman on the line. He in turn gives her a sleeping bag for her to rest in with her infant. It is touching, and just as the warm cockles of your heart start warming up along comes some wanker in a Mercedes-Benz car and plows through the entire crowd … intentionally. And this is all within the first chapter.
Bill Hodges is a retired detective who lives a very simple – retired – life. His usual daily regimen involves watching some self-righteous, indignant female judge verbally pummel unsuspecting litigants and a certain show involving people, screaming audience and DNA tests. He’s had quite an accomplished career closing many great cases … all except one. I guessing you can guess which one. Then one day, Hodges receives a letter from a certain Mr. Mercedes. Though seemingly apologetic, the letter is a thinly veiled taunt at Hodges’ inability to close the case.
Meet Brady Hartsfield, by day he works at a discount electronics store and is part of Cyber Squad (or something like that), a team that drives around in lime green Volkswagons fixing people’s computers. On the side, Mr. Hartsfield also drives an ice cream truck which allows him to dispense ice cream to sugar-starved kids whilst keeping an eye on Bill Hodges. After a grueling day of fixing computers and selling ice cream, Mr. Hartsfield goes home to his mother. This is where it gets cringeworthy for Brady has very unusual fascination with mum (as in incestual with a capital I), though not as sexy as anything you might see on Game of Thrones. And for the record, I’m not implying that incest is – sexy. Allow me a moment to deal with the slight vomit burped into my throat and is slow being re-digested. Oh the things I must endure for my blog and readers. So aside from planning psychotic bollocks and taunting retired detectives, Mr. Hartsfield is an avowed racist as is seen in his hatred that is directed towards Jerome Robinson; a young black man that is befriended by Hodges and is brilliant beyond his age. He is also quite the adoring wiseass.
So there is Brady Hartsfield in a nutshell: racist, a bit psychotic and lives with his mum that he’s sexually fascinated with. Hmmm … sounds like a good percentage of the trolls that hang out on Yahoo and other news site messageboards. Now I know what some might be thinking that I’ve tossered up and decided to reveal the killer to you. Sorry mates, hate to break it to you, but King beat me to that within the first three chapters.

As Hodges pulls himself back into the case he encounters Lauren Trelawney, whose sister was driven to suicide by Mr. Mercedes since it was her stolen Mercedes that was used in the crime. He is hired by her, as a private eye, to investigate her suicide. Of course, Lauren is a hot 40-something and yes their relationship becomes more than professional. Awww, older folks having hot sex. It is only a matter of time before things go awry (I’m not going to say what -) and before you know it Hodges is joined with a strange motley crew (Olivia Trelawney and Jerome) as they pursue Bray in what turns out to be a terrifying race against the clock where there is a lot at stake … to lose

King’s Mr. Mercedes, though not your typical preternatural horrifying tale, is more of psychological crime thriller that nevertheless scares you breathless. Especially when you realize, based on current events, that there are tons of Brady Hartsfields out there – minus the incest factor. Maybe. I hope. Please.
All in all, it is premium King that, as always, never skimps on the excitement and throat-grabbing suspense, and leaves you waiting for the next book.

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cellcookcover

George Wilson, MD, is a senior radiology resident in a major L.A. hospital. A promising future and a loving fiancée, George’s future is so bright that he’s got to wear shades (oh Timbuk 3, we need you chaps back on the radio). And then one morning, George awakens with a dead fiancée in his bed … seemingly due to Type 1 diabetic complications. Several months later whilst going through the grieving process, George attends a seminar hosted by Amalgamated Healthcare, where he runs into an old flame (Paula Stonebrenner) and the revelation of a new medical breakthrough in the form of a smartphone app called iDoc. A convergence of informational technology, nanotechnology and genomics, the iDoc is poised to be quite the thing to supplement the Affordable Care Act where virtual digitized doctors monitor and offer medical advice without the inconvenience of waiting in line at the local hospital or clinic. Now I know what you’re thinking: a health insurance company coming up with a solution to “help” the healthcare system. Seriously, that alone is some really good medical fiction right there. But alas, here it is. Soon George discovers that there are many people using iDoc as beta testers. Among them was his late fiancée (hmmm, you say). And just when the uneasiness of being replaced with Siri, MD, was beginning to arise in George, many of the beta testers started dying on him which ranges from a friendly neighbour to several patients he’s actually worked with. Still not impressed or intrigued? Oh yes, did I forget to mention that most of these victims were either terminal or potential terminal cases. Bloody hell, you’re saying about now … and you’re in good company. As George decides to investigate iDoc (the accidental death panel known as Siri) and Amalgamated Health, he finds himself entrenched in a sinister game of cat and mouse where his sleuthing threatens Amalgamated’s bottom line (aye, that is always a good thing) and George stands to lose more than just his residency or sanity.
Cook’s Cell is a neck-breaking thrill ride down a dark, twisting mountainside on a very thin road … with the lights off. It grips you by the throat all the way to the mind-blowing end … and yes, it will blow your mind. And if anything, it’ll make you appreciate those long waits at your local clinic as you thumb through old People magazines or endure Judge Judy or the Price is Right on a crappy telly … over some PHd enhanced Siri that simply wants to kill you. Just saying mates.

P.S. Siri is not the actual virtual avatar that is used in the book. I just used her because … well … she makes such a great target. Tee hee.

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joyland

It is your typical college boy story. Boy goes to college to study journalism. Boy meets girl and falls in love. Girl, however, is not so in love with boy. Summer comes boy and girl has to go separate ways. Girl finds a job (and a new “love”) in some other state. Boy finds job at carnival with colourful characters … which also involves a haunted mirror house with a ghost. Girl breaks up with boy (at least he didn’t get played with that “I have to concentrate on my studies” bollocks only to find out that she’s dating your swim team mate who is stupid enough to blurt it out to you … oh, I’m sorry, just a flashback detour). Boy decides to hang around with carnival beyond the summer. Sounds pretty much cut and dry, except it is not. After all, this IS Stephen King, mates.

And yes , I know … doesn’t sound like your typical chill-up-your-kilt scary King stuff that I’m always reviewing but when you like a writer … well … you can’t help it. Believe it or not, this is actually a crime novel (sprinkled with bits of supernatural shenanigans … of course). A bit like Stand by Me and Green Mile minus the jail stuff. In Joyland, the readers are guided through the story through the eyes of Devin Jones (the down and out on love lad), as it is written in the first person narrative. Starts a bit slow, but Devin’s life with the carnival is filled with colourful characters (each with their own intriguing mini-stories) that keeps the reader sucked in. Somewhere in the 70s, King’s tale captures a bit of nostalgia of a time when nothing said fun like the annual summer carnival and water park. And the best part was that there was not Twitter, Instagram and other such bollocks that kid us into believing that we’re capturing the “fun” moments of our lives. Really? I thought we already had a built in app for that and it does not come with contracts or limited memory and it was called … memories. And believe me, some things are best left in your memory than preserved on Instagram for the rest of the world to see. Think 80s, hair mousse and lots of neon-coloured clothing … on a black bloke. Hope you folks out there have a really good imagination because you will NEVER see that on web. Ah yes, great times. I detoured again, didn’t I? Just a wee bit.

One of the most delightful characters introduced comes in the form of Mike Ross, a young kid, with a terminal disease, filled with supernova wisdom packed into his short and tragic. Needless to say, he is one of these characters that will linger with you long after you’ve read this book. But just as the book is beginning to get all touchy-feely, and most readers are resigned to a nice calm roller coaster ride to the end, the roller coaster suddenly dips and plummets at a terrifying pace as the reader practically wets their undies holding for dear life. Yes, there is a ghost of murdered girl(Linda Gray), strange mutterings from a fortune-teller (Madame Fortuna), and a serial killer twist that would cause most readers to drop their jaws in the puddles of their own discharged body fluids. A bit too graphic on that one? Sorry. I need to control that.

The beauty of Joyland is that even though it is a first-person narrative, most of the characters we encounter have their own stories, that are intriguing, shocking, frightening and yes, tugs on the heartstrings. Did I weep like a nancy, you ask? Like bloody hell, I am going to admit that. (Ok … sort of … but I didn’t need a tissue). Splendid King as usual, and perfect for summer reading at the beach. Ah yes, you remember that … SUMMER. The other S word. Warm, sunny days. Girls in … oh, never mind me.

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doctorsleep

Back in the 80s, I remember sitting under this house with a bunch of people in a makeshift cinema that was comprised of several benches, a large telly and a Betamax video player (the size of the Hoover dam), watching The Shining. Aye, in Guyana they tend to build houses on pillars, that way you get to use the full yard and still have a very large house with two stairs. I was in my early teens then, and along with a few of my mates, I had paid my two quid to get the bollocks scared out of me … and let’s just say that The Shining didn’t disappoint. What I got from that movie was about a week of sleepless nights and me pledging to never accept any carnal proposals from any strange naked women, I encounter, emerging from bathtubs, in strange hotels. Then again … about the last part … oh come on, just kidding. Maybe.

The last time we heard of (or saw) Dan (Danny) Torrance, he was escaping, along with his mum and chef Dick Hollaran, from the Overlook Hotel … and the psychotic wrath of a possessed father. Up until then no knew what happened to Danny Torrance beyond Overlook. Apparently, for many fans, inquiring minds wanted to know and this specter may have raised its head at several of King’s signings (or so I had gleaned from his Author’s notes … aye, I tend to be a bit thorough with King’s prose sometimes). And so, the much anticipated sequel to The Shining was born: Doctor Sleep. Here we find a middle-aged Danny Torrance, drifting around America, a full-blown alcoholic and occasional drug user (if there is ever such a thing), from job to job. His mother had passed on (now please folks, this is not much of a spoiler, for you will learn this early o’clock in the book … and no, I would never be such a wank). We are also introduced to a group called the True Knot that travel by RVs and Winnebagos across the country and they seemingly have an appetite (literally!!!) for young children that have the shining ability. Immortal and viciously terrifying, they are lead by the charismatic Rose the Hat; a woman whose viciousness and charm are so bloody terrifying that it makes Hannibal Lechter looks like a dolled-up children librarian that wears lots of pink (the colour … and not the Victoria Secret brand … it is troubling that I know this). If you look closely on the cover you’ll see a depiction of the sultry Rose (yes, it took me awhile to figure that out … and to notice the outline of her tophat) which more or less dampens the pure malevolence that hides beneath the surface of this bird. The paths , between Rose the Hat and Danny intersect, when both (sort of) encounter Abra Stone: a young girl that is born with the shining, very powerful and is perceived by the True Knot as some sort of Holy Grail. Aye, sick, twisted and bloody creepy. And so a battle royale begins, as the Rose and her True Knot cult try to capture Abra. For Danny, it is déjà vu all over again where Abra is the same shoes as Danny was at Overlook and Danny, now, has to become a mentor of sorts, as chef Hollaran was to him, to her in face of an emerging and terrifying battle.
King does not hold back nor spares any punches as this terrifying sequel explodes, on your senses, with the force of high yield megaton atomic bomb as it often not only makes your hair stand on end but bloody glow with tension and anxiety. There is a mixture of everything for every emotion in this book … and most of it …very twisted. We learn about Dick Hollaran’s disturbing pass as a young child. We get to cheer (a bit) when Danny finds his way to recovery whilst working in a New Hampshire hospice and because of his shining “ability” he has this unique way of helping people to pass from this life into the other (hence the title “Doctor Sleep”). And of course, there is one of the most touching endings I’ve read in Stephen King book that almost got me sobbing like a little nancy. Okay, my eye got a wee bit glazed over … but THAT’S IT. (Forgive me, Jason Statham, Patron Saint of Manliness).

Needless to say, it is premium King at its most thrilling, frightening … and yet, oh so touching. An adrenaline-induced, horrifying, roller coaster ride that you never want to end. The much anticipated sequel was well worth the wait. Though now I am a bit ever more cautious about RVs and Winnebagos that I may encounter on travels on the highways of America, for you never know who …or WHAT is in them (also echoed in the Author’s notes). Mr. King you are one scary bastard … a loveable scary bastard.

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Nos4A2

It is October. The month in which we all tend to indulge in things that give us the hibbie-jibbies. Or possibly soil our undies. Dark things. Disturbing things. Scary things. Things more scarier than Kanye West’s ego, the Kardashian’s fame or the wanks in Washington. Aye, it is the month where Syfy, AMC and tons of other networks on the telly go into overdrive with their horror marathon. And so I shall take a cue. Pleasantries out of the way … and .. here .. we … GO.

Victoria McQueen (aka the Brat) is a precocious young woman with a crappy upbringing and a really cool Raleigh BMX bike which she loves to ride. This, however, is not just some ordinary bike and Victoria McQueen is not your ordinary tomboy. Some days, the BMX bike acts like a knife that cuts the fabric of reality allowing Victoria to cross over into another world by a portal in the form of a covered bridge (aka the Shorter Way Bridge). In this world, Victoria can find whatever she’s looking for from a lost mother’s bracelet to … trouble. Which brings me to Charlie Manx. Like Victoria, Mr. Manx is also very special but to a terrifying degree. Adding to the creepy factor is the fact that he drives around, with the aid of some Igor types (in this case, Bing Partridge … sexually depraved manchild and tosser), in his 1930s Cadillac Wraith that only plays Christmas songs. Aye, it could be worse … think Ke$ha, Mylie Cyrus, or Rihanna. Like the BMX, the Wraith is Manx’s reality fabric cutter that takes him and unwitting children to Christmasland where everything is anything but jolly. On a fateful crossing of the Shorter Way Bridge, Victoria is hurtled in the future, encounters Manx and … survives. The good news is that this is just the beginning of things to come. It is also safe to say that is also the bad news. Hill takes us on what could be easily summed up as a terrifying (literary) joyride … at night … with a psycho … who’s driving with one hand on the wheel … and other holding a semi-loaded gun, playing a game of Russian roulette … pointed at you in the passenger seat. Bloody hell … you say? You’ve got that right.
Charlie Manx is the sort of bloke that would make even your local boogeyman piss himself senseless before he hands in his retirement papers. And yes, would most likely have most of us checking out the closets and basements before turning out the lights and entering a nightmare-marinated sleep. Hill’s NOS4A2 is like a careening, bloody car chase down a dark highway and every page just prods you into turning the next (sleep and bodily functions be damned) page. Most definitely not to be read on a full moon night (trust me on this, you’ll see what I’m talking about), or if you live next to creepy neighbours that wear WWII gas masks. A warning to ALL readers: try not to get too attached to some characters. There … and that’s all I’m going to say about that. As a good, blood-curdling, bump-in-the-night, blood-splattering read, NOS4A2 does not disappoint. Yes, quite the understatement. And Mr. Hill has found a coveted spot in my mental “library”.

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rcooknano

I am fascinated with the world of nanotechnology. The concept of making robots so small on a molecular level that could (one day) swim around your blood stream eating cancers and tumors or even used to generate organs from a vat of organic chemicals … fascinates me immensely. So when I saw the Nano by Robin Cook, it was literary Christmas times two (yes, I need to get out more).

Interestingly enough, Pia Grazdani returns. You, know the chick from Death Benefits (just a few posts down, mates) with the scary baggage. After surviving some “stuff” (sorry but I don’t intend to ruin it for those that haven’t read Benefits as yet) in NYC, she takes some time away from her studies and finds herself in the employ of Nano; a company that is doing pioneering research in the field of nanotechnology and headed by the charismatic, driven Zachary Berman. Nestled at the foothills of the Rockies (in Colorado), with a magnificent campus, Nano is a seemingly Pia’s ideal workplace. Did I that, somehow, Mr. Berman has somewhat tapped into unknown source of “unlimited funding”? Well, I guess I just did. During a jog through the sprawling campus, Pia encounters a fallen “employee” that has seemingly succumbed to a severe seizure. When the man suddenly recovers from (let’s just say … um … ) death and then whisked away from hospital by special Nano staff to a highly restricted area of the Nano campus, a sea of red flags are raised in Pia’s mind about the situation. As Pia struggles to unearth the secrets of Nano, she discovery reveals a Pandora’s box of vileness that shatters the scientific utopia of Nano: human experiments. And yes, there is no such thing as “unlimited funding” and if there is … be careful of the hosts for they want something even more. To make things worse, Mr. Berman has plans for Ms. Grazdani that have more to do with silk and satin sheets and other bits of naughtiness rather than late night discussions of the latest techniques of molecular production.
As Pia is drawn to the terrifying truth, we find more twists than a DNA helix where everyone aren’t what they seem and the limits that some are willing to go for the sake of profitable medical technologies … even if it involves murder.

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deathbenefit

Several months ago I watched the remake of Coma on DVD. Though the storyline was slightly changed from the original (from the 80s) that starred Micheal Douglas and Genevieve Bujold, it was still watchable since it was great to see Geena Davis still looking saucy as ever. But back in the 80s it was Genevieve Bujold that had my attention since I was your typical hormonal teen and I had scorching crush on her. Oh sweet Canada. Yes, she may be a bit older, but I doubt whether my feelings have changed. Um … a bit much information there … and I’ve already detoured. Focus … and now we’re back. I came across Death Benefit in the stacks and since there was Robin Cooks name on it I was compelled to give it solid perusing.
Pia Grazdiani is not your typical medical student since she comes with a lot of baggage, and not the type found in overpriced shitty Coach designer types: her estranged father is a VIP in the Albanian mafia; she witnessed her mother’s mother at six years old; she was sexually molested by an uncle; she’s passed through more foster homes than extinct joint at a reggae concert; and she’s got some serious trust issues with authority figures. Yet, despite it all, she manages to become a very smart and focused medical student and PhD candidate that works under the equally feared and neurotic Dr. Rothman who is not only her mentor but is pioneer in groundbreaking medical research. The sort of research that could turn the medical world upside down … in a good way … but at the same time may put some folks out of business. When Dr. Rothman and his assistant, Dr. Yamamoto, become violently ill and within 48 hours is dead, on the surface it is nothing more than an accidental contamination, but as Pia digs deeper what she finds something even more sinister. The kind of stuff that could possibly get her killed. Oh, conspiracy you say? Well, I’m not bloody telling. Though Death Benefit at times comes across like medical science lecture, Cook does his earnest best to make it easily digestable for those (unlike myself) that are not so scientifically inclined. And yes, this aspect is kept to a delightful minimum. Filled with intrigue and surprising twists that’ll keep you anxious to get to the next page, Death Benefit is a great medical thriller that’ll keep you riveted to your seat as you mentally try to override all pertinent body functions … and it’ll probably scare you about ever getting life insurance. The same way Coma scared the living shit out of me about ever getting anesthesia for any operation. Then again, I wouldn’t mind being operated on by Genevieve Bujold or Geena Davis … though I ‘d prefer to be awake for that. A bit too … much? Bad images in your mind? So dreadfully sorry.

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