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The Proteus Cure Paperback – April 21, 2013
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The villain is telegraphed pretty quickly, but the skill is to see how the protagonists figure out and foil the dastards.
For me, it wasn't quite a "I can't put it down." I don't know why--it's well crafter, well-written & plotted, but I guess it's not quite Michael Crichton.
I can only wonder if this began as an attempt at a small murder mystery that went nowhere, then was pulled out of the reject pile and given a stem cell therapy based repurposing. That's the most convincing case I can make for the implausibility of most of the action in this tale. The villain is obvious from the beginning, but the reasons for what he does make no sense in light of the final revelation of his plans. Sure, a small minded mad scientist might be concerned about patient complaints and malpractice suits. A nut case might even come to see murder as the rational solution to such problems. But given what we're eventually told about the conspiracy, he shouldn't be bothered at all about such minutia. If worst came to worst, he could simply hop a jet to Europe and carry on.
From a storytelling perspective, I find several flaws. There is no clear hero. Perhaps two people share the hero's burden, but neither is ever fleshed out enough to dominate and as a pair are too disparate to be a convincing couple. Much of the action is contrived, even given the flimsy rational for it. An entirely gratuitous rainstorm and flood are added just to juice up the suspense in the end. Motivations are not clearly established and seem to change according to what the plot needs at the moment. Too much of the payoff is in the form of evil villain talking about his accomplishments.
I like much of the overall intent and underlying themes of the book. I just wish it had been given a more coherent treatment.
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