Elixir

Charles Atkins. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-9050-4
Boston pediatric oncologist Frank Garfield, the hero of this implausible medical thriller from Atkins (Ashes, Ashes), believes his experiments with bits of protein on the ends of DNA strands show promise for eliminating cancerous tumors. His publications have brought him to the attention of Leona Lang and her son, Dalton, the evil leaders of UNICO Pharmaceuticals, who want to recruit him and profit from his discoveries. Dalton, who hopes to unseat his mother, electronically eavesdrops on Frank’s conversation with Frank’s mentor, Jackson Atlas. Jackson warns that Frank’s treatment could be weaponized by unscrupulous corporations, and also reveals he had an affair with Leona decades earlier. Dalton’s subsequent murder of Jackson brings Frank into contact with a potential love interest in the form of the hunky homicide detective assigned to the case. The overly busy plot gets more so after Atkins tosses in a threat related to Frank’s troubled childhood. Awkward prose (“Like a white-coated rat led to cheese, he headed towards the elevators”) doesn’t help. Michael Crichton this isn’t. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/22/2020
Release date: 08/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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