cover image Subject 375

Subject 375

Nikki Owen. Blackstone, $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5047-2579-8

Owen’s ambitious, often confusing first novel launches the Project trilogy, featuring Dr. Maria Martinez Villanueva, a consultant plastic surgeon with Asperger’s syndrome, who was convicted of the murder of Joseph O’Donnell, a Catholic priest. Settings and circumstances shift abruptly from Maria’s cell in London’s Goldmouth Prison to sessions with her therapist and with her psychiatrist, often giving the reader no clue about the transition. What is clear is that Maria has remarkable talents for absorbing data and solving puzzles, has no recollection of killing O’Donnell, and struggles to maintain her sanity in a situation where she can trust no one. Gradually, Maria makes discoveries suggesting that she is a “subject” per the cryptic title, that MI5 is somehow involved, that people she trusted were “handlers,” and that the mysterious Project Callidus is at the heart of all that has happened to her. Maria’s struggles are unresolved, paving the way for the next installment for those who may feel compelled to follow her adventures. [em]Agent: Adam Gauntlett, Peters, Fraser, and Dunlop. (Sept.) [/em]