Allen Wyler,
Dead End Deal
(Astor+Blue, 2012)

When I got this book, I was expecting more of a giant conspiracy book, with the protagonist being pitted against the government, pharmaceutical companies and the law. However, this book was definitely nothing like that. I also expected there to be more science and mystery, but the novel turned out to be closer to a Jason Bourne novel than a medical thriller. The biggest difference would be there is no military training and less mystery. If you love science and political books then this will be an enjoyable read to you.

Dead End Deal is a suspense thriller about a neurosurgeon, Jon Ritter, who is working to create a cure for Alzheimer's, a disease that ravaged his grandmother and caused him to put her in an assisted living home. Ritter is ambushed by two hired thugs and given an ultimatum to either stop his work or he will be murdered. His boss appears in the middle of the encounter and is shot dead. Ritter is knocked unconscious.

He awakens to an interview with FBI Agent Fisher, who believes a violent anti-abortion group called The Avengers is out to end his work. Ritter's valuable and time-consuming research has also been called off due to the threat from The Avengers, so he must find someone else to fund his work. He turns to his rival Richard Stillman, the CEO of a biotech corporation. Due to the Avenger's constant threats, he must do his research overseas in South Korea with the help of two old friends. The Avengers also do their research, however, and follow Ritter to Korea.

The novel is very interesting, the pace is lightning fast, and it is one of the few books where I could read 150 pages at a time, without stopping. It took me only 24 hours to finish this nearly 400 page book, and if that isn't a recommendation than I don't know what is.

There are many good parts of this novel, including the characters. The protagonist, Ritter, is written very uniquely, and in such a way that you begin to empathize with him. Next is Nigel Fiest, the Australian hitman who is chasing Ritter. I strangely began to empathize with him, too -- well, as much as I could with a possibly sociopathic hitman.

The story was also well written, and it kept me from putting the book down. While there isn't a grand mystery to the story, as it is solved rather early, you read it to find out what happens next, and the story and writing are both so good that you'll keep reading. The settings are also unique and well painted, and the villains are ambiguous.

This novel is wonderful if you're expecting an interesting mystery and a fast-paced thriller, but don't expect Hemingway or McCarthy-esque deepness because that is not what this story is about. It is a smart, fun read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants just that.

book review by
Vlady Kozubnyak

15 November 2014

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