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Peaceful Endings: The Noposam Project Paperback – August 20, 2008
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Doug Talbot, a television cameraman, rushes his daughter to the hospital because she has been taken mysteriously ill. When he gets to the hospital he finds it is swamped with numerous patients with similar symptons, many which die quite suddenly. While there he meets a doctor, Marilynn (with two ens) who takes a big interest in helping his daughter and finding out what is causing the problem. Marilynn's investigation leads to a string of bad guys coming after her and Doug and puts them on a wanted list.
Doug and Marilynn must skirt the bad guys, find a solution to the mysterious ailment afflicting everyone before the police or bad guys capture them. The action is virtually non-stop with high tension. Doug and Marilynn are two very likable characters and the reader starts really rooting for them to upset the bad guys and win the day.
People are dying in droves in tiny Rhode Island from totally unexplained causes. They start sweating profusely and develop an intense thirst. But before anything can be done, they drop dead. Doug Talbot, a free-lance cameraman for the local TV station, gets caught up in the crisis when his daughter Cassandra contracts the strange illness that is killing everyone. He takes her to the hospital, where he's able to get her in the care of Dr. Marilynn (two n's) Harwell, a physician he happened to meet earlier in a local food court. This chance meeting has unintended consequences, however. A covert government agency, the SIA, observed Talbot taking pictures of a high-ranking general in the organization prior to the lunch meeting, and they have both Harwell and Talbot under surveillance. As the medical crisis spreads and the government declares martial law, they also target Harwell and Talbot as "terrorists" who can be blamed for a biological attack. Harwell discovers the real reason behind the deaths, and both her and Talbot have to go on the run in order to expose the truth and save his daughter.
In terms of plot and characters, I liked the story. The premise was interesting, and it's one of those "conspiracy" plots that unfortunately becomes more believable with time. The only problem I had was with some of the dialogue. I find that first time novelists often have dialogue that is too cute and perfect. For instance, Harwell goes off on a rant about a death that she feels she should have been able to predict and prevent. After everything that her and Talbot had gone through, the words just didn't seem natural. If this were one of many novels that Tucker had written, I don't think I'd be quite as understanding. But in this case, it's far from the worst cases I've read, and it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. This was a fun read, and I look forward to reading his follow-up novel due later.
Full Disclosure: I was contacted by the author (or agent/publisher) who provided me with a complimentary review copy.
The premise: Years ago, under the premise of injecting a vaccine, tiny chips were implanted into the flesh of American citizens; chips that were designed to ease the passage from life to death.
The problem: The chips are malfunctioning and innocent people are dying literally of bumps and bruises.
The antagonist: A thoroughly detestable General in charge of a secret government agency.
The protagonists: A television reporter, recently abandoned by his wife and an attractive doctor at the local hospital.
If you've read medical thrillers, techno-thrillers, or government/spy agency thrillers, you can guess where this one is going. But really, it's not a bad read. There are places where the author could have beefed up the dialogue, and there are one or two "continuity" issues an editor really should not have missed -- but for a few evenings of light reading, I found this to be an enjoyable book.
If the author does write a sequel (as is suggested at the end of the book) I'll certainly read it.