cover image The Cure for Modern Life

The Cure for Modern Life

Lisa Tucker, . . Atria, $24.95 (326pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-9279-9

Tucker offers a cure for modern readers seeking an enjoyable literary page-turner that also explores serious social issues such as addiction, ethics and genetics. Tucker's fourth and most ambitious novel (following Once Upon a Day ) is her first to have a male protagonist. Sardonic and emotionally aloof, Matthew Connelly directs his energies away from romantic entanglements and toward his work as an executive at pharmaceutical giant Astor-Denning. His bitter ex-girlfriend, Amelia, works as a medical ethics watchdog and is poised to take Matthew and his company down. But the appearance of homeless 10-year-old Danny and his toddler sister shakes up the lives of the combustible pair. In crisp, lively prose, Tucker cleverly executes a series of surprising twists that, coupled with the Big Pharma backdrop and cinematic feel, make the novel as fast-paced as a thriller, but with astute and often humorous observations about the shifting morality of 21st-century America. The relationship dilemmas at the center of this story make it an excellent choice for book clubs, but the novel should also increase Tucker's male readership and solidify her position as a gifted writer with a wide range and a profound sense of compassion for the mysteries of the human heart. (Mar. 25)