Mad Skills

Walter Greatshell, Author
Walter Greatshell, Ace, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-441-02012-6
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Equal parts science fiction thriller and coming-of-consciousness tale, this page-turner lays bare the inanity of modern-day existence in grand style. After 17-year-old Madeleine "Maddy" Grant suffers a severe brain injury, an experimental neurological treatment from the enigmatic Braintree Institute not only restores her to her former self but also advances her intelligence exponentially. When she goes home, Maddy is appalled by shallow, "suffocating" everyday human lives and is eventually sent back to the institute for re-evaluation. Eventually, she begins to realize that the institute isn't purely benevolent, and their scientists' experiments have downright terrifying implications. Powered by an endearing heroine (whose ingenuity and resourcefulness make MacGyver look inept), pedal-to-the-metal pacing, and generous amounts of social commentary, this science fiction thrill ride is the literary equivalent of a syringe full of adrenaline. (Jan.)
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