From the very start, Dr. Carroll Monks knew that the businessman dumped from a limousine in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital wasn't a typical San Francisco junkie. Even after Monks had rushed the dying man inside and brought him back from the precipice of a heroin overdose -- after the danger had, seemingly, passed-Monks sensed that something more sinister was brewing.
Just how sinister, he couldn't have guessed. First a phalanx of lawyers and doctors descended on the hospital and whisked the man away before Monks could find out more about the suspicious circumstances surrounding his arrival. Then a small fire broke out in the hospital -- an act of sabotage that resulted in the disappearance of the man's blood samples. But the real shock came the next morning, when the newspapers reported the mysterious disappearance of billionaire Lex Rittenour. Rittenour, a beloved computer wunderkind, had long been rumored to be developing a top-secret technology involving the human genome, the medical applications of which had the potential to place his name alongside those of Lister, Curie, and Salk. Now, just days before the unveiling of his breakthrough, Rittenour -- whom Monks now recognizes as the man he saved in the ER the night before-had, according to his corporate spokesmen, "gone into seclusion."
What begins for Monks as an inquiry into Rittenour's disappearance unearths something far more diabolical -- the horrific facts behind genetic research done in Rittenour's name-and pits him against a corporation of dubious ethics, ruthless commando-style tactics, and a multi-billion-dollar motivation to protect its dark secrets.
As he did in his first Carroll Monks novel (Twice Dying), Neil McMahon creates from today's most complex ethical issues -- in this case, the "progress" stemming from explosive new advances in genetics -- the unforgettably chilling, electrifying drama of Blood Double.
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Neil McMahon holds a degree in psychology from Stanford and was a Stegner fellow. He has published ten novels, in addition to the bestselling thriller Toys, coauthored with James Patterson. He lives in Missoula, Montana, where his wife directs the annual Montana Festival of the Book.From Publishers Weekly:
Flinty, incorruptible San Francisco surgeon Carroll Monks returns in this entertaining but shallow sequel to McMahon's Twice Dying. This time, the gruff Mercy Hospital doctor is thrust into the midst of high-powered corporate intrigue after he saves the life of a scruffy-looking junkie who's overdosed on Demerol. Monk's daughter, Stephanie, an impressionable med school student, recognizes the drug abuser as Lex Rittenour, a reclusive and egomaniacal software designer who's the power behind the throne at Aesir, a major bio-tech company. Shortly after Rittenour is escorted out of the hospital's ER by shady Aesir attorney Ron Tygard, Mercy's blood lab is attacked by saboteurs posing as local firemen. Rittenour's blood samples are among those destroyed, and the cagey Monks and Stephanie quickly deduce that Aesir is trying to destroy any evidence that its genius-in-residence was ever at the hospital. The company can't afford any negative publicity: it's planning a major IPO and putting the finishing touches on REGIS, a revolutionary piece of software that can quickly and comprehensively scan any individual's entire genetic makeup. When Monks sets out to confront Aesir's head honchos, he finds himself contending with the company's ruthless CEO, Ken Bouldin; the seductive Dr. Martine Rostanov; and a secret, highly unethical research project conducted on illegal Korean immigrants. McMahon's sophomore effort shows little depth or character development, and his exploration of the ethical dark side of genetic research can be pat. Still, the novel is plenty of fun, with swift pacing, some tense scenes and a likably crusty protagonist. Monks has a real knack for putting people in their place, as when he tells the obnoxious Tygard, "You don't have to flaunt your inner child so much." There are few lulls in this shipshape medical thriller.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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