What would you pay for the secret of immortality? What would you do for immortality?
Microbiologist Richard Maran’s goals aren’t that high. He’s in a race against time. You see, his daughter Susie suffers from a rare genetic abnormality called Hutchinson-Gilford Syndrome, more popularly known as Progeria, which causes rapid aging in children. They rarely live past twelve and Susie is already eight. His research is geared toward finding a solution that will save her and the fifty odd others that suffer the illness. He begs and grovels for every dime he gets. It’s just not a high priority when so many other diseases take more lives.
Then he comes into possession of a thumb drive loaded with data courtesy of a grieving husband. His scientist wife had committed suicide, only he didn’t believe that. He wants Richard to look over the drive data and see if it’s something for which murder might be done. Richard agrees, putting it down to a husband who just doesn’t believe in the suicide.
He’s astounded at what he finds. Though early, it looks like something that could help Susie and the other Progeria sufferers, a genetic resequencing. He takes it to another in his field more suited to the material. Though he has an IQ of 170, this other scientist puts him to shame.
And that’s when things start to go downhill.
His home is suddenly invaded by the police, he’s accused of industrial espionage, and the policeman in charge doesn’t want to hear anything he has to say. All his computers, at work and home, are seized, all file work, everything of his research. His best friend bails him out. His next problem is coming home from a late run, he spots a shadow in his daughter’s room, to big to be Susie or his wife, Carly, and he busts through the open window to confront a man with a gun in one hand and a syringe in the other. In the wrestling around, the syringe falls to the floor, the man is about to shoot him, when he scoops up the syringe and plunges it into the assailant’s thigh, emptying the contents. The man staggers away, climbs through the window, and as he disappears through the brush, Richard sees the syringe drop from his thigh.
The same cop is back and is as uncooperative as ever. He claims there was no syringe out there and starts to speculate that the whole thing is made up, that Richard might want to kill his daughter for the insurance money, and get out from under the burden that’s been driving him for years. Richard runs a bluff, saying he can check the soil where the syringe fell and probably figure the contents and perhaps get a DNA sample of the man. After the cops leave, he goes out to look himself and finds a shovel from his garage and a clod of dirt gone from where the syringe had lain.
That’s when he packs his family up and goes on the lam. With a giant corporation after him and, perhaps, the cops in their pocket, what chance does he have. it looks like that woman hadn’t committed suicide as her husband had surmised. And a few days later when he hears the husband had died in a car accident it reinforces that notion.
Where to take his family? Any friends would be to easy to trace.
He decides on a man he barely knows, a man he hadn’t seen in a dozen years, a man who professed to owing him a favor for his kindnesses during his wife’s cancer battles when Richard was a young doctor doing cancer research. He’d taken the time to politely explain everything asked of him, unlike most other doctors at the hospital. That his wife couldn’t be saved didn’t matter. He owed Richard.
Burt Seeger was retired special forces, serving in Afghanistan with distinction. Older now, and limping from wounds, he agrees to help, taking to Susie right away. And she to him.
And so begins the chase. Richard is determined to find out what’s going on, why someone is willing to kill anyone and everyone connected with this information, unfinished as it is, and who precisely is behind it all.
Kyle Mills writes in a nice style, the pacing keeps one flipping the pages, and I finished the book during a single day. I was able to put it down, I have other obligations after all, but it wasn’t easy, The book goes on sale December 6th
Worth a look if one likes a good thriller.