March 28, 2012

Book: Long After Midnight by Iris Johansen

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:00 am

This is the story of Kate Danby, who is a scientist who has been divorced from her husband Michael, a policeman jealous of her more successful career.   She still  maintains a good friendship with him. Her life revolves around her son Joshua, her work and her family that includes Phyllis, her mother-in-law, who lives with her.

Her work involves the super secret RU2, which would revolutionize the world with the ability to cure any disease, but which she thinks must remain  a secret. Two major industrial magnates are interested in her for their own gains, Noah Smith, who wants her to help complete his own research in similar areas, to benefit his company being the first to bring out new medicines based on RU2 and Ogden Nash who wants to stop both her and Noah so that his traditional medical companies would not be threatened by it. Both of these employ thugs – Noah employs the dark and enigmatic Seth Darkin and Noah employs Blount and a particularly vicious and savage Ishmaru, of Native Indian origin.

How Kate Danby survives and triumphs the various nerve shattering attempts to kill and stop her is the story. In the midst of it, in one of the twists (early in the book, so I am giving nothing away) we learn that Noah is good, and she falls at one point for Noah and Seth simultaneously.

The good points of the story are the absorbing conversations about everyday life. The wisecracking of Phyllis, the interests of Joshua and the family banter that occurs at several points in the book are absorbing.

Unfortunately, that is all that is good about this book. There is no attempt to explain even the imagined basis of RU2. Ishmaru pops in and out at will and finds out secrets useful to him with no apparent effort. There is a convenient ploy invented in the last minute to get rid of Ogden. The plot in tense moments is almost childish, as opposed to the playful banter during normal moments (that is a surprise to me!)

The ending is weak and uncertain. Just when all obstacles to the original goal of publishing it in US has been eliminated, she decided to change course and go to Amsterdam!

The most annoying thing is that, contrary to the intended effect of  Kate Danby coming across as a strong willed and intelligent woman, see seems to the reader to be  a stubborn brat insensitive to anyone else’s feelings and appallingly self-centred.

I know Iris is a successful author with legions of fans, and so maybe I chose the wrong book as my first.

I would give it no more than 2/10.

— Krishna


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