ScienceThrillers.com review and giveaway of The Cure by Douglas Richards
(very good; top 50% of SciThri)
Publication date: September 17, 2013
Category: science fiction / thriller
Tech rating (out of 5):
Summary (from the publisher):
Psychopaths cause untold misery. If you found the cure for this condition, just how far would you go to use it?
Erin Palmer had a devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child. Now a grad student and scientist, she’s devoting her life to studying these monsters. When her research catches the attention of Hugh Raborn, a brilliant neuroscientist who claims to have isolated the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, Erin realizes it may be possible to reverse the condition, restoring souls to psychopaths. But to do so, she’ll not only have to operate outside the law, but violate her most cherished ethical principles.
As Erin becomes further involved with Raborn, she begins to suspect that he harbors dark secrets. Is he working for the good of society? Or is he intent on bringing humanity to its knees?
Hunted by powerful, shadowy forces, Erin teams up with another mysterious man, Kyle Hansen, to uncover the truth. The pair soon find themselves pawns in a global conspiracy–one capable of destroying everything Erin holds dear. And forever altering the course of human history…
In The Cure, indie author Douglas E. Richards breaks into the majors with a hardcover release by science fiction publisher Tor/Forge. As he did in his successful mind-bending novel about superhuman intelligence Wired, Richards once again gives us a smart, effective heroine who possesses scientific information of supreme importance–information that puts her in the crosshairs of powerful enemies who are not always what they seem.
The Cure is a fast-paced thriller that raises questions about medical ethics and about what it means to be human, but the issues are not explored deeply. If Wired tired your brain with its elaborate mental puzzles, you’ll be pleased to sail through this book without strain because it reads more like a conventional thriller. Without giving any spoilers, I’ll emphasize that while The Cure has some real science in it, this novel is solidly in the speculative fiction/science fiction category.
Protagonist Erin Palmer and her new companion Kyle Hansen use their wits to survive as they are chased across the southwest United States by a violent, shadowy criminal organization while trying to reunite with their scientific patron, who also has been keeping secrets from Erin. The romance that blossoms between Erin and Kyle feels improbable, but the various plot twists work well and will keep you guessing.
Erin commits to years of research inside a prison by what the cover copy describes as a “devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child.” Although graphic details are toned down, some readers may find the scene of this encounter, depicted in the prologue, too emotionally fraught for their reading taste. This scene is not at all representative of the tone of the novel, which is not unusually violent or edgy for a thriller. If you’re concerned, skip the prologue and dive into the actual story in chapter 1.
The Cure cites the wisdom of Star Trek and will give you a new definition of long-term planning. This is a fast read with plenty of surprises.
FCC disclaimer: An advance reader copy of this book was given to me for review. As always, I made no guarantee that I would read the book or post a positive review.
Link to ScienceThrillers review of Douglas E. Richards’ bestseller Wired