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Capitol Reflections Hardcover – January 29, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of The X-Files may enjoy this science-fiction thriller, the debut novel by Dr. Javitt, whose impressive government credentials aren't quite matched by the sophistication of his plot. Chair of President Bush's Health Subcommittee of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee and an epidemiologist, Javitt imagines a recent past-2005-in which the threat of genetically modified food has become a reality. When Marci Newman, a workaholic New York City attorney, dies after a mysterious seizure, Newman's best friend, Gwen Maulder, who's a division chief with the Food and Drug Administration, investigates. Aided by her ex-Secret Service husband, Jack, and her former flame and current Washington Post columnist Mark Stern, Maulder finds that Newman's seizure may be part of an epidemic that may be connected with coffee-seller Pequod's, the new mega-company that has overtaken Starbuck's. The bad guys are led by Hawaiian senator Henry Broome, whose past includes several murders and the theft of some genetics research from his Princeton roommate. The writing and pacing are adequate, and Javitt throws in a nice twist at the end, but the action sequences tend to overwhelm the science.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“If you can read only one book this summer, it should be Capitol Reflections, the new thriller by Dr. Jonathan Javitt.  Not only is this gripping novel almost impossible to put down, but it illustrates potentially vital problems with the safety of America’s food supply.” — New York Post

“Few people know both medicine and Washington like Jonathan Javitt. As a White House insider, consummate physician, and active participant in public health policy he knows what he’s writing about and it shows in Capitol Reflections. On a topic which may someday involve the lives of millions this is a novel that is both compelling and informative.” — Newt Gingrich Best selling author of Pearl Harbor and Gettysburgh

“Javitt has melded his professional and political expertise to craft a chilling thriller that should alert every reader to the very real dangers we face in the 21st century. His characters are compelling and realistic, very much like the dedicated people who served with me during my tenure as Surgeon General. His plot, while (hopefully) fictional, could just as easily be a headline from tomorrow's newspapers.” — Dr. C. Everett Koop, Former U.S. Surgeon General

“Javitt has written a grab you by the throat thriller that could easily be tomorrow's lead news story. Under the guise of a compelling read lurks a keep-you-guessing plot that should cause any intelligent reader to worry about the safety of us all. An intrepid female physician, a town full of bad guys, and the safety of the American people at stake. Seems like a surefire recipe for success.” — Janet Rehnquist, Former Inspector General, US Department of Health and Human Services.

“A fast-moving, medical twist-and-turner, written with a knowledgeable pen and a creative wit.” — Fran Kritz, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times columnist

"Compelling and terrifying. This book is a must for mystery and adventure readers--and for everyone concerned about what he puts in his body." — Ben Stein, bestselling author, Emmy-winning TV host, and national commentator

"Capitol Reflections may read like fiction, but the truth should scare us more. Our food safety laws were written long before we ever imagined, much less created genetically-modified food. Within the guise of a great thriller, Jonathan Javitt has vividly illustrated the danger that confronts us all if we don't act soon." — Wayne Pines, former Associate Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“Authentic and sharply written, Capitol Reflections plunges us into a world which combines intrigue with cutting-edge science. Jonathan Javitt has given us a timely and compelling read!” — Richard North Patterson, International bestseller

"Have big corporations infiltrated top levels of government, blocking FDA controls on potentially harmful corporate practices? Is there a cadre of ruthless killers serving the whims of an unknown omnipotent, raspy-voiced dictator who controls the U.S. government? Author Javitt, a well-known epidemiologist, physician and health advisor to three presidents, presents this frighteningly believable first novel of a health crisis, political corruption and cover-ups; the work brings Robin Cook and David Baldacci to mind. When successful lawyer Marci Newman dies suddenly after horrific and unexplainable seizures, her friend and FDA captain, Dr. Gwen Maulder, can’t shake suspicions of treachery. Using her professional and personal connections, Gwen risks her career and her life to expose a multi-layered web of power throughout the regulatory entities, the Senate and the ubiquitous Pequod’s coffee empire. This first novel suffers somewhat from the author’s didacticism on the subjects of health policy and politics, and from an overabundance of underdeveloped supporting characters. Nonetheless, readers will flip through the pages of this addictive, action-packed thriller, hoping the story is fiction." — Authormagazine.org

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling & Ross Publishers (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977954536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977954537
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,406,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Capitol Reflections starts off running. It held my attention from the first page, which is not an easy thing to do. Since I was immersed in the book so quickly, it turned into quite the page-turner from page one.

The story is based on the science of genetically-modified food. It reminded me a lot of Michael Crichton's novels, combining fiction with real-life issues.

There's never a dull moment throughout, as the plot twists and turns around the investigations of an FDA doctor trying to figure out a series of strange deaths. There are various subplots that keep you guessing, but there's also a sense of predictability that makes you smile as you figure things out at the last minute.

I have no complaints about several ridiculous subplots or characters. I like my thrillers very "popcorny"... Capitol Reflections keeps things right on the edge of absurdity without going overboard. It's a fun mix of "this really could happen" with "I sure hope this doesn't happen."

All in all, an entertaining and informative novel that makes great nighttime, or beach chair, reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a great read. The book starts out with a chain smoking, caffeine drinking New York lawyer working pro-bono. Lawyers working for nothing??? Well I'll concede that it is possible. Anyway, this young impressive lawyer drops dead from a seizure, and the doctors call it natural causes.

Enter her best friend, a doc working for the FDA and a reporter, who of course used to be her ex-boyfriend. Independently at first and, later in the story, together they start to put together the clues surrounding this death and uncover a spate of others.

I found the plot fascinating. The author does a great job with explaining complex scientific theories and findings in lay terms. Given the Author's impressive resume in policy, politics and science I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't write over my head. I hate to have to google a term while reading.

Overall a gripping read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book was a welcome relief after the last several books I've reviewed here at Amazon. I found the plot complex but not confusing. The characters reasonably well developed and the writing to be overall very good. This book kept my attention through to the end and now I'm looking forward to re-reading to pick up on nuances I may have missed in my rush to get to the conclusion.

I see that other reviewers have complained that the basic story isn't new. Yes, this is true. If you look for vague enough general ideas you'll see that most entertainment (be it books, movies, music or games) is not entirely original. I mean, there are just only so many ways a story can go and I'm pretty sure all of them have been done at some point in recorded history. What's important to me is that the writer get there in an interesting and original way. And I firmly believe that Mr. Javitt has done so with this book. If you're a fan of dramas (particularly forensic or similar) you will most certainly enjoy this read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Brief Plot Summary: Gwen Maulder's friend Marci dies suddenly after a seizure. Upon investigating her friend's death, it becomes apparent that her friend's seizure and death are not a lone incident. Gwen works for the FDA and has the resources to research unusual health events, but her digging gets her in trouble at work. She's given another assignment that is tantamount to a demotion. As she enlists the help of friends, their jobs and lives are also placed in jeopardy.

Capitol Reflections reminds me of a made for TV movie. There's a good idea in there somewhere but it got bogged down in the author's attempt to hold the suspense for too long. The majority of the book is spent with the characters running around trying to find out the cause of the seizures/outbreak of unusual behavior/deaths. There doesn't seem to be a consistent reaction to the genetically engineered coffee in this story. That may be more realistic, but it's also rather boring. And there is no connection to the actual outbreaks. Other than Marci, the rest of the victims are just numbers. Another factor adding to the lack of excitement is that this outbreak is so minor that no one noticed! Not exactly the stuff that thrillers are made of.

The characters could have been better developed. Just as Gwen is beginning to feel real, the author switched the majority his focus to her friend Mark Stern. And before he's fully fleshed, the author begins to consistently move back and forth between other characters. I did enjoy reading about Mark Stern's and Peter Tippit's exploits. Tippit was a cross between a geek and James Bond. Maybe not realistic, but he made for the most entertaining character in the book. The bad guys are particularly flat. They could have all been one man.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you've ever read anything by Robin Cook, this book will seem rather familiar. It's a suspenseful tale of intrigue and conspiracy and it centers around medical and scientific issues, all wrapped into government and political malfeasance. In this case, the subject matter is genetically engineered food. Along the way, the book takes a few predictable swipes at the major corporate interests that sell us cigarettes and coffee.

While the book is predictable, it is entertaining. He will grip your attention and I can see this being adapted for a television movie. In short, if you never read this book you won't miss much, but if you do run across it and read it, you will certainly be entertained.
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