“His crime had been death itself, and he had been sentenced with life.”
First, I have to say I love mad scientists. They go back to the dawn of science fiction and are firmly nestled in their own corner of the genre. Dr. Harlow’s character is a cross between a mad scientist and one of his own rejected experiment-turned-mental-patients. Throw in a secret lab with old medical equipment and two henchmen to do his bodysnatching and other dirty work and the villainous package is compete.
The protagonist, Mason, is the prized possession of Dr. Harlow’s experiments. He’s impulsive and more than just a bit naive, but he’s also a character that is faced with haunting questions of his own existence and a strong will to take control of the life given back to him.
Now, on to the story. The first two chapters flip-flops between multiple characters; including a random citizen (I didn’t follow why this one), Dr. Harlow’s goons, an officer attending the funeral of Warren’s wife, Warren, the funeral director... *ahem*. You get the idea. Multiple views are great but too many leave a skewed point of view. This is only in the first couple of chapters, though. The rest of the book settles on mostly Mason’s POV with just enough character flips here and there to keep it interesting.
The Purify Project. What is it? I can’t really say, and not because of spoilers. I’m really not all that sure. Intentional? Or just because Dr. Harlow is more of a nutcase than a scientist and isn’t really sure what he’s doing himself? Sometimes you can’t get away with not spilling the truth behind the big evil mastermind projects, but I think Mr. Smith got away with it here by focusing the book on Mason, who knows nothing about the project itself. So, the truth is, only Dr. Harlow knows what he was doing (maybe) so I can be content with not having the full disclosure.
In all I can tell this book is a debut, but a promising one. It leans more on the Science Fiction genre, with a twist of suspense, drama and mystery. There’s a few little plot holes, but none that will ruin the story.
It’s a good, quick read that will keep you engaged up to the very end. I look forward to reading future novels by this author.