⭐️ (1 Star)
After a harrowing adventure in the novel, Death Benefit, Pia leaves New York for Boulder, Colorado. There, she hopes both to flee the demons of her past while researching a cure for her injured friend using the latest nano technology. Everything seems wonderful and Pia is immersed in the most exciting work of her career, until, one day, she comes across a dead man outside her corporate headquarters. Unable to let mysteries go by unsolved, Pia passionately throws herself into an investigation of her own company, uncovering dark secrets within the suspect organization.
The book offers an interesting look at the blooming nano technology field. It accurately points out some of its inner workings and draws attention to the fact that there’s no oversight at all with what these companies are doing, and that they’re essentially playing with fire that could have disastrous consequences for us all. It also depects that, in a very competitive world, people are going to use technology advances to give them an unfair advantage in any arena they can.
Pia Grazdani is an interesting, multi-faceted protagonist. She’s not typical in any way, neither friendly nor charming, yet her intelligence, tenacity, passion and struggle captivate us. It’s nice to have a protaginist outside the norm and I enjoyed her character farm more than any other in the novel.
Actually, I didn’t really enjoy any of the other characters. They were generally weak and boring, even silly or pathetic. The big bad guy turned out to be less sinister and really just something of a greedy, obsessed idiot. He was actually quite a realistic character, sure, so that was good. But he could have been more sinister to add to the suspense.
I found the plot ok, sometimes, but lacking in real drama. I didn’t find the pace or events particularly thrilling, though they were interesting. Maybe it was the writing style, which felt a little dry or even awkward at times, but I wasn’t as caught up in the mystery as I should have been. It’s billed as a medical thriller, and there’s some of that, but there wasn’t any real crisis or drama on a medical level, no real scare or clock to beat. The company was simply doping some atheletes with nano tech.
SPOILER Even the big ‘cover up’ that was going on wasn’t so shocking. They were using death row inmates who volunteered to be lab rats. So? I didn’t find that particularly a bad thing. Sure, it should have been done in some official capacity, but if criminals sentenced to death can earn some sort of redemption by voluntarily donating their bodies to science, isn’t that a good thing?
I found the dialogue a little strained and unnatural at times, as if I were reading someone whose English was a second language. It was a little too formal and stilted. There were also times when comments seemed inappropriate and there were exclamation points where there probably shouldn’t have been.
SPOILERS To me, the ending felt unfinished. Maybe that was the point. Maybe it was supposed to be mysterious or tragic or something. I did like the twist with the Chinese at the end, but I felt that Pia was left unresolved. After following her so closely for the whole novel, she becomes nothing more than a princess in a tower for secondary and tertiary characters, then disappears. Was it supposed to be a dark ending? If so, then why weren’t we subjected to her horror at the end? Instead, we had defiance and hope of rescue, then – nothing. The climax of a thriller needs to deliver a bigger payoff, I think. And people generally like stories to have some kind of resolution or proper cliffhanger. It felt as if the story were set up for a book 3, but one never materialized.
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