cover image The Chemist

The Chemist

Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown, $28 (528p) ISBN 978-0-316-38783-5

In this uneven adult romantic thriller from YA bestseller Meyer (the Twilight series), a woman “currently calling herself Chris Taylor,” a former operative for a secret U.S. government agency that killed her mentor, must take extraordinary steps to stay alive. The compelling opening chapters document the extreme precautions Chris employs to avoid leaving traces of her presence, as well as the sophisticated self-defense mechanisms she has devised. When Chris receives an email from Carston, a former agency colleague, she replies that she’ll meet him one week later where they first met, which turns to be an outdoor cafe in Washington, D.C. At their rendezvous, Carston persuades Chris to use her skills as a no-holds-barred inquisitor to prevent a crippling bioterrorism attack on the country. The first step is for Chris to locate Daniel Beach, who has been working with a Mexican drug lord to distribute a super-charged influenza virus. Once Chris finds Daniel, the plot plays out along predictable lines that don’t do justice to the intriguing setup. Underdrawn characterizations don’t help. [em]Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Nov.) [/em]