THE NEPHILIM SEED

James Scott Bell, Author
James Scott Bell, Author THE NEPHILIM SEEDJames Scott $12.99 (375p) ISBN 978-0-8054-2438-6
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Bell, a former criminal lawyer and an award-winning author, mixes a dash of philosophy, a sprinkling of legal scenes and a dollop of science in this lukewarm Christian techno-thriller. Harvard biology professor Bently Davis is the acclaimed voice of reason against the Intelligent Design movement and a controlling partner in UniGen, a small biotech startup. "Nephilim Seed" is Davis's shorthand name for a project that will use injectable synthetic genes to create superintelligence in humans and free participants of emotions—including religious ones. He's impatient to try the new process on a child, and defense lawyer Janice Ramsey's 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, appears to be the perfect candidate. After Lauren is kidnapped by Sam, who's Janice's ex-husband and a UniGen employee, Janice teams up with a rebellious, tattooed bounty hunter to find her daughter. The novel is plagued by multiple points of view that tangle the narrative thread. There are unbelievable moments, such as Janice phoning her mother to tell her Lauren has been kidnapped, to which her mother responds calmly: "I will call the prayer chain." Quick character transformations of Sam and Lauren occur at the end, and odd vernacular crops up throughout (chuckleheads, brung, stupidzoid). Although Bell doesn't shrink from portraying violence, he sidesteps sexual references, calling an attempted rape an "unspeakable act of male violation." While not as satisfying as his Christy Award winner, Final Witness, Bell's latest should be a reasonably diverting read for fans. (May)

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