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Biotech research, life insurance investments and the Albanian mob come together in this medical thriller
on January 6, 2012
Pia Grazdani, a talented medical student, is working with a prestigious scientist, Dr. Rothman, on stem cell research to create human replacement organs. The research, which will revolutionize treatment of many diseases, is only months away from being completed when a disaster strikes the lab. Dr. Rothman and one of his associates become deathly ill while working in the lab and die within hours. Pia does not believe this is an accident and, with the help of her friend George, begins her own investigation much to the distress of school administrators. A potential murder investigation would not be good for the school.
I liked Pia. She is smart, strong-willed and independent. Orphaned at an early age she was raised in the foster system and learned to depend on herself and no one else. She still suffers from nightmares and cannot allow anyone to get close to her even though her friend George would do anything to help her.
Meanwhile, several ex-Wall street hot-shots think they have hit on the investment idea of the century. They formed a company to buy insurance policies from terminally ill people for pennies on the dollar. The future seems bright until someone begins shorting their stock. As soon as other investors find out about this, their company will be worthless.
Scattered throughout the story are a few chapters with some very unlikeable characters from the Albanian mob. It got a little unbelievable and this element of the plot could have been handled differently and still been effective. To avoid spoilers I'll not say much more other than all three seemingly unconnected storylines come together in the end.
The narration by George Guidall was a pleasure to listen to with a smooth, flowing style. I usually prefer a female main character to be narrated by a woman's voice but Guidall did a capable job with Pia and I was not distracted by the lack of a female reader. The book was written in the third person so there was more narration than dialog.
I enjoyed this medical thriller that combines the right amount of current research, factual information and an engaging story. Stem cell research and organ replacement are timely and interesting topics that held my attention over the eleven hours of the audiobook.