Book Review: No Time to Die by: Kira Peikoff

Publisher: Pinnacle

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: In a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging. . .

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.

Review: NO TIME TO DIE covers issues of medical and research ethics, genetics, and legal rights. As my full-time job is in the arena of human subjects protections I was excited to read this new thriller. Zoe Kincaid is a 20 year old woman who has the appearance of a young teenager. Zoe has felt like a freak for years and only wants to grow up - to look like a normal 20 year old. Her parents are in denial and her only supporter is her maternal grandfather. When she has medical tests performed without her parents’ knowledge, as they want her to accept herself through therapy, she finds out her genetic makeup may hold the key to new discoveries in the science of aging. Meanwhile there is a secret group, The Network, led by a charismatic man who goes by “Galileo” which secret experiments on human subjects without IRB or governmental oversight. The head of the DOJ’s Bioethics Committee, Les Mahler, is desperate to shut The Network down by any means necessary. When Zoe goes missing along with a researcher who was the last to see her, Mahler is determined to root out The Network once and for all.

Zoe is a likable character and while her outward appearance is of a young teenager, it seemed to me as if she should have behaved more in a manner fitting her chronological age. I think this would have helped show a distinction between who she really is versus how the world and her parents treat her. “Galileo” had a Robin Hood-esque feeling to him; larger than life and pursuing new discoveries ‘for the greater good’. Whose greater good? It is true that science and technology develop faster than our understanding on how to deal with these breakthroughs in an ethically sound manner. However, this doesn’t mean that just because you can do something it should be done. It appears there is an underlying approval by the characters of experiments conducted on humans without any kind of ethical review. Those who don't agree are written in a more negative light. The science itself is fascinating, even with some accelerated timelines for plot sake, as all humans fear aging in some way. NO TIME TO DIE is an interesting take on the field of research and ethics, sure to spark many lively conversations.

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