Douglas E. Richards shines in his imaginative sci fi novel The Cure. With suspense at every turn. Richards takes us on a ride which infuses many genres. A story that cannot be judged by its gruesome opening, The Cure has elements of espionage, science and even a romantic side.
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 . . .
At a time when society seems to be facing an epidemic of psychopathic monsters, The Cure explores this condition, and the surprisingly thorny ethical and moral dilemmas surrounding it, within an explosive, thought-provoking, roller-coaster-ride of a thriller that will have readers turning pages deep into the night.
There are many books which cannot be judged by its cover. The Cure is one which should not be judged by its opening scene. The prologue has gruesome detail and displays events that may be hard to swallow for most readers. While Richards storytelling makes the whole scene believable, I was left wondering why it was necessary at all. It serves as background but is in stark contrast to the quirky funny sci fi meets spy thriller that the rest of the book follows. So in that respect, reader be warned.
I really did not like the main character Erin Palmer. She is one of a handful of characters who are not quite irritating but not interesting either. Erin on the surface seems like every man’s fantasy- attractive, smart, and not overly emotional. However, this surface judgment is all we ever get. Erin unfolds to be one dimensional and reminiscent of a stock female spy character. At one point, Erin remarks how she’s not superwoman but I was quite amused to see that Richards painted her out to be. However, I would posit that a true superwoman would be considerably more interesting.
There are many redeeming qualities to The Cure. There is a nice balance between the study of psychology and how it relates to life. Richards’ pace propels the story forward while utilizing flashbacks to fill in details. Most importantly, the plot is good. The quality of plot is inherently important because at times I felt myself reading scenes to wonder who really cares. This was true for the many times characters pondered on how they romantically felt towards one another. Though I could understand it given other circumstances, the romance aspect felt like afterthought.
With a good story line and fast pace, The Cure is an entertaining read. The bland characters are not enough to diminish the sense of adventure which is at the core. Ultimately, though I wish there was often more relevancy to character decisions, there was an undeniable cool factor which intrigued me to see the plot to the end.