Author: DK Halling

Publisher:  Quantum Dot Publishing

ISBN: 978-1491264225

Like some real roller coasters, this book starts slowly but soon becomes a thrill ride. As a writer of sci-fi thriller, I was immediately attracted to the concept. Hank Rangar, entrepreneur and engineering genius, and friends try to file a patent and begin a start-up. The apparatus will solve a problem with stents, namely that some arteries are just too small for stents. This problem occurs around the heart as well as in leg stents.

I’m not sure I completely understand the science and engineering behind the device, but a stent company wants to torpedo it to avoid losing business (why wouldn’t the two technologies complement each other?). Added to the mix are a crooked senator and a sleazy patent office head. Hank’s personal stake in the patent appears when, after successful animal trials, his sister is a first candidate for human trials. She dies, and Hank knows whom to blame.

More than a thriller, then, this book is about revenge. Readers will hate the forces stacked up against Hank, but they also might find his method of revenge a bit over the top and not very creative, considering that he’s a smart guy. However, one can hardly blame the man. His roller-coaster existence is exacerbated when the reporter who might have led him to a more creative solution is murdered. Both reporter Christine and sister Janine are tragic female figures. I found them more likable than Hank, but I’m a sucker for smart women—and they all die here!

The book is timely. Questionable corporate practices, greedy men, and a dysfunctional Washington all play a role. I couldn’t help rooting for Hank even though I disapproved of his methods. He only achieves part of his revenge, though, and doesn’t know it, so maybe the rest is coming in a sequel? Oh, and I forgot to say that Hank also has a contract out on him when a shadowy organization is hired by the patent office sleazebag to eliminate Hank.

One nit to pick: The racy scenes between Hank and Christine seemed unnecessary. Is the intention to show that both entrepreneur and reporter are just using each other? That puts the two almost on the same level as the sleazy patent office head and the female lobbyist, but maybe not by their own choice.

Like all good thrillers, this one leaves you breathless but also makes you think, “Could this really happen?” After you remember things that go on in the real world, your answer will probably be a resounding “Yes!” And that’s the scary part. As I was reading, my mind kept going back to The Fugitive—the movie, not the TV series. There Harrison’s Ford character probably generates more sympathy than Hank, but the latter protagonist is perhaps more realistic. But for all lovers of a good thriller revolving around a nefarious conspiracy, this book is required reading.

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