Reviewed by Anne Hamilton
Trust the science - unless your life depends on it.
Blaine Colton had been handed a genetic death sentence until revolutionary gene therapy changed his life. Living a relatively normal existence, he is called to an unscheduled post-treatment appointment just weeks before his eighteenth birthday.
Informed that his lifesaving procedure was never approved, he is held against his will for his status as an apparent illegal GMO. Subjected to constant testing, refused contact with his parents and deprived of life sustaining medication, Blaine begins to suspect that something is wrong. Wanting answers, he escapes the Institute and ambitious Chief Scientist, Dr Melissa Hartfield.
Now a fugitive with a failing body, Blaine must find Professor Ramer, the developer of his therapy. But the Professor has vanished and time is running out. Fast.
I loved this story from the first paragraph. I originally saw it as an entry in the CALEB Unpublished Manuscript competition in 2013. It stood out even in a very strong competitive field. My only misgiving was that it was set in Brisbane, my hometown, and I could picture Blaine’s every move as he tried to evade his captors. I wondered how much my enjoyment was affected by my ability to visualise the actual locations in brilliant bougainvillea Technicolor. Off it went to judges overseas and interstate who enjoyed it just as much as I did.
This is a fast-paced YA techno-thriller. Blaine’s miracle cure has already occurred before the book opens. For years, he was a drooling, disabled human vegetable whose adoptive parents have sacrificed their lives in the hope he could be cured. Their faith has been rewarded and now Blaine is a regular teenager who can walk and talk and look the girl he’s crazy about in the eye instead of the kneecap.
But his right-side-up life is about to hit a huge bump in the road. It tumbles into upside-down freefall: no one has counted on the ruthless ambition of several medical researchers.
Blaine’s regular check-up has turned into a nightmare when he is held against his will as an illegal GMO: genetically-modified organism. Chief scientist Melissa Hartfield is desperate to discover how her erstwhile mentor, Professor Ramer, brought about this radical cure. Ramer has left with no forwarding address and she’ll stop at nothing to find out the secret of his work.
She’s barred Blaine from his parents and them from him. And she’s made him think he’s carrying a potentially deadly contagion and them think he’s become violent and subject to murderous rage.
Can Blaine escape? He’s got one secret: a tiny supply of pills called Ramer’s Cure and, if he can eke them out while making Hartfield believe he is debilitated and stupid, he might stand a chance of getting out of the high security cage where he’s incarcerated.
A wonderful story about hope, love, miracles and God’s quiet oversight of every sparrow’s fall. It takes place in Brisbane and some other location. I could tell you where, as I could also tell you more about the story. But I won’t. As Professor Ramer says, if I did—then I’d have to kill you.
Release: 1st September 2014
Release: 1st September 2014
Kindle ISBN: 9781925139105
ePub ISBN: 9781925139112