I purchased this off-the-shelf because Booklist on the cover promised it "Could give Michael Chricton a run for his money. Skilled storytelling" and because it sounded like a unique concept - "Perfect patients, perfect victims, a medical nightmare come true".
With a likeable, but flawed main character who uses humor to offset stress, page-turning action, a host of REALLY, REALLY bad guys and bureaucratically challenged government agents, there's no doubt that the "Skilled storytelling." part is true.
There are a few flaws that keep this book for me from being more than just a slightly above average, fun page-turner.
1. Over the top characters and action - it's fun to read over-the-top sometimes, but while I liked and despised appropriate characters I never really cared when something good or bad happened to any of them.
2. The cover and title of the book (not to mention the blurb on the back) gives away what it takes Nate our hero - 289 pages to figure out. Fortunately, enough page-turning action and a sense of how you don't really know how it will all play out keeps you reading up to that point. It would be better if you didn't know exactly what every clue meant, so long before him.
3. Big over-the-top ending. It's a pet peeve of mine lately - how decent thrillers turn into cartoonish VERY, VERY BAD GUYS against GOOD GUY with impossible odds doing things that stretch far, far beyond the believable.
Bottom Line: Spanogle weaves a decent tale that will keep you turning the pages. He's not the next Micheal Chricton, though. He's more like the next Robin Cook - with his fun, over-the-top medical thrillers. And, if you like Robin Cook medical thrillers, the more you're bound to like this one - it's right up there with many of his.