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by John B. Olson
Published by Bethany House Publishers, 2003
Suggested by: Greg Slade
After winning a Christy Award collaborating with Randall Ingermanson on Oxygen and following up with The Fifth Man, Olson strikes out on his own with Adrenaline, an unapologetic thriller set in the near future. James Parker, a post-graduate student at Berkeley, is trying to find a cure for the form of muscular dystrophy which threatens to kill him and his sister, Jenny. Even though he is confined to a powered wheelchair, he interrupts a swarm of "glass-heads" people addicted to a drug which is supposed to make them docile and harmless who are threatening Darcy Williams, another graduate student. Parker and Williams team up to develop a promising lead in Parker's research. That development appears to offer a miracle cure for muscular dystrophy sufferers, but there appear to be dreadful side effects. The question becomes just how much Parker is willing to sacrifice in order to save his sister and himself.
As with Olson and Ingermanson's collaborative works, there is plenty of tension, and there are plenty of red herrings. The wrap-up at the end is also a bit frustrating, tying up some threads just a bit too neatly, and leaving others dangling loose entirely. And, of course, being who I am, I am less than happy with just how much of the story involves budding romances. Still, Olson has not made any scientific howlers that I could spot (since he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, I'd be surprised if he did), and he does know how to write a "page-turner."
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