Intern forensic pathologist Dr. Riley McKay has noticed irregularities in autopsies at the Allegheny County Coroner's lab. Suspecting foul play, she seeks help from Dr. Nick Polchak, the "bug man" renowned for his ability to solve murders by analyzing the insects on victim's bodies. Nick and Riley uncover a sinister link between the lab's director and PharmaGen, a start-up drug company specializing in genetic research. They also discover that PharmaGen fronts an underground system to procure transplant organs for wealthy clients by finding and murdering matching donors. But PharmaGen learns of their security breach and orders the couple destroyed. While staying a step ahead of PharmaGen assassins, romantic attraction develops between Nick and Riley. But the attraction is complicated by a tragic secret that Riley hides -- a secret closely tied to one member of PharmaGen's operation which propels the novel to its astonishing conclusion.
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Tim Downs is a professional speaker and writer and has worked as a nationally syndicated cartoonist for fourteen years. His first book, Finding Common Ground, was awarded the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association's prestigious Gold Medallion Award. He has coauthored two other works of nonfiction with his wife, Joy. Tim and Joy are on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ and live in Cary, North Carolina, with their three children.From Publishers Weekly:
Romance among the maggots and blowflies? Well, yes, and plenty of hilarity and suspense in this delightful sophomore Bug Man novel from Downs (Shoofly Pie). After physically threatening a college student who falls asleep in his class, entomologist Nick Polchak is put on temporary probation. He meets up with Dr. Riley McKay from the Pennsylvania Allegheny County coroner's office, who is on the trail of something fishy and needs his help analyzing some corpses. A black market in transplant organs has resulted in targeted murders, and PharmaGen's traffic in applied genetic information may be a screen for other dubious dealings. Complicating things is Riley's own well-kept secret about her medical condition. The pacing drags a bit toward the middle, and a contrivance or two move the plot along, but Downs keeps the pages turning with some excellent twists and first-rate humor. He laudably knows how to show rather than tell—a rarity for Christian fiction. Good entomological details add authenticity to the story, and the heavy themes of the pitfalls of a utilitarian approach to ethics and the hazards of judging human value on the basis of social worth are mostly thought provoking instead of preachy. Downs's flair for the unusual—and his notable improvement over his already strong first effort—make him a writer to watch in the faith fiction market.
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