Due to space and time constraints there were a handful of reviews I submitted to Shelf Awareness that were not able to appear in the newsletter. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing those reviews with you. The first appears today with permission from Shelf Awareness.
Biologist Dr. Kathleen Sainsbury has a very personal reason for wanting to discover the gene in the human DNA that will prolong life, possibly by hundreds of years. But as her research carries her closer and closer to the answer, a man from her past appears and chaos follows close on his heels.
James Barney unlocks the secret to a successful debut novel in grand fashion. This adventure thriller delves into science, history, religion, and politics. In most labs that mixture would be deadly. But Barney manages to balance the components for an exciting, thought-provoking reading experience.
Kathleen Sainsbury, Barney’s female protagonist, is well fleshed out with myriad dimensions. She’s smart and ambitious with weaknesses and flaws. Kathleen depends on her friends and family which not only works to make her believable, but also heightens the value of the supporting characters to the novel.
The characters play such a pivotal role in a great thriller. While the plot can drive the pacing of the novel, if the reader isn’t making some emotional connection with the characters, the events seem unimportant. Barney doesn’t skimp on the characters, so when they are weaved into a fascinating, well-researched plot, the intensity is increased.
The Genesis Key pokes around ethical themes without expressing any personal commentary; readers won’t find this to be a passive experience. More likely they’ll find questions lingering long after the final page.
The Genesis Key is available in mass market paperback (ISBN: 978-0062021380) from Harper.