One of my favorite things about summer is taking the time to catch up on my reading. It is highly enjoyable to sit outside on a warm day and soak up the sun while turning the pages of a book. In the past I’ve even often sported “book tan lines” where I would place it on my legs and partially block the sun. Now thanks to my Kindle my days do not always result in a fashion statement, and I find I carry my book(s) with me to more locations indoors anyhow.
The latest book I came across was Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler. Wyler tells the the story of intelligent and passionate Dr Jon Ritter, a renowned neurosurgeon who together with his colleague Wayne Dobbs, may have come across a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, using stem cells, after a decade of research.
Naturally, with a breakthrough like this, not everyone is excited. Some in the medical field want to bury the research, others want to steal it and sell it as their own. Outside of the medical field extremist groups plot to attack anyone using stem cells, as they believe the only source are unborn babies.
Faced with drama, danger and red tape Ritter find himself in Seoul, Korea with an old friend and completely unfamiliar territory. Ritter must navigate Korea despite a lack of knowledge geographically, culturally and possibly most importantly, politically after his research goes wrong and he is accused of murder!
I found this book to be extremely well written. Occasionally when reading a novel I have the very intense awareness I am reading from an object. With each passing word I know soon I will turn the page and I consider the verbiage or grammar choices. When reading Dead End Deal, I caught myself totally unaware of my outside world. A majority of the time I could picture the characters, the dialogue and scenery without any trouble and with each pause it seemed as if I were walking about from a new found favorite TV show.
The author worked as a neurosurgeon himself providing rich details to the medical aspects of the scenes I have not encountered with other novels. Growing up watching medical dramas, studying medical sociology as an undergrad and being fascinated by the brain as a drug and alcohol counselor I was completely captured by this side of the writing. Honestly, the only parts I found myself skimming were the far and few extended descriptions of Korea. And even then this is because the plot was twisting and turning with every moment and I held my breath in anticipation for the next moment of action.
While the story as a whole may seem far fetched, I found it to be executed realistically. Think army of spiders in the closet versus random unknown poisonous spider in the closet. Both are unlikely to happen, but the later is far more believable. Ritter maneuvers his way through situations most people would never find themselves in and if they did they would be screwed. His escapes however only lend credibility to his brilliance and the possibility he was able to manufacture an Alzheimer’s cure. I would also like to thank the author from providing a touching ending without throwing the rest of the tone of the novel out the window. One of my greatest annoyances with a book is when the last few pages become a “how can I appeal to every teen or teen girl at heart with these last few sentences”.
If you’re looking for a quick summer read, one where you walk away feeling like you were let in on a major secret, this is a great choice in book. Dead End Deal is available in e-format and should be compatible with any e-reader if you follow this link.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Blue Dot Literary. An advanced unedited copy of the novel was provided to me, free of charge, in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions and text is my own.