In Harm's Way

Paul Breeze, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (217p) ISBN 978-0-312-13094-7
Breeze, a British research biologist turned full-time writer, debuts with a cracker-jack medical thriller centering around a 1952 government experiment aimed at determining how Britain might survive an atomic war. Medical researcher Tony Marchbank receives an urgent call from a colleague and reluctantly agrees to drive to the man's house. When he arrives there, however, he finds the man missing and research documents scattered throughout the living room. Within hours, the colleague turns up dead, a supposed suicide. But when Marchbank returns to the house, he discovers that all the papers have vanished--until they just as mysteriously reappear, subtly altered, days later. The ensuing investigation by Marchbank and his assistant uncovers a strange pattern of leukemia and cancer victims, all children, in an obscure northern English village--the key, it turns out, to unearthing a despicable government plot. Throughout this well-paced and understated tale, Marchbank's three-year-old marriage unravels, a turn of events that contributes to the near-destruction of the man. Though careful readers will foresee some of the revelations and relationships here, Breeze's tight focus on Marchbank and those around him results in a frighteningly believable first novel that presages well for his career.(July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
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