“Believe me, they don’t want to get better. They’re quite happy with themselves.… They don’t learn the error of their ways. They learn how to make better use of psychology to manipulate and deceive others.”
The Cure, by Douglas E. Richards
Forge Books, September 2013
science fiction thriller
318 pages (hardcover)
Erin Palmer had a devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child. Now a grad student and scientist, she’s devoting her life to studying these monsters. When her research catches the attention of Hugh Raborn, a brilliant neuroscientist who claims to have isolated the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, Erin realizes it may be possible to reverse the condition, restoring souls to psychopaths. But to do so, she’ll not only have to operate outside the law, but violate her most cherished ethical principles.
As Erin becomes further involved with Raborn, she begins to suspect that he harbors dark secrets. Is he working for the good of society? Or is he intent on bringing humanity to its knees?
Hunted by powerful, shadowy forces, Erin teams up with another mysterious man, Kyle Hansen, to uncover the truth, and the pair soon find themselves pawns in a global conspiracy. One capable of destroying everything Erin holds dear… and forever altering the course of human history.
The Cure was an interesting book, and a hard one to discuss. I considered not even reviewing it, not because I didn’t think it was worth reviewing, but because I didn’t know how. So, the fact that this review exists at all should tell you how much I enjoyed it.
I did not, however, enjoy the prologue; in fact, it might well be worth skipping altogether. This section details that “devastating encounter” Erin has as a child (the events of which you’ll find out later in the book anyway), and it almost made me stop reading. Violence abounds in the books I read, but this one stretched my tolerance level to the max. I decided to give it a chance, though, and I’m glad I did, because once I got through the prologue, the tone shifts dramatically. That scene really does stand apart from the rest of the novel… there’s nothing else that even comes close.
Erin is a great heroine, intensely focused and steadfast in her beliefs. Of course, a character like that makes a great starting point when the plot raises the questions it does. How far would you go to do what you believe is right? Because of her research, Erin has wrestled with her own personal ethics before the story even starts, and now she knows where she stands… but suddenly she’s being challenged by things she never thought possible.
And speaking of things never thought possible, the book goes places I never thought it would. Normally I like it when books can surprise me, but this one – about a third of the way through – could have been a major stumbling block.
It’s rare to have two spots in a book where I consider putting it down, and still end up liking it as much as I did this one. Despite ending up with a different book than I thought I was getting, The Cure is a fast-moving page-turner that I really enjoyed. I’ll definitely be looking for more from Douglas E. Richards.
Does The Cure sound like something you’d pick up? How do you feel when a book is nothing like what you expected?