Review: LURE by Jeff Marschall

FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

LURE is a fascinating medical thriller that is written by author Jeff Marschall. The title of the book comes from a laboratory out of Paris with the acronym SOLEIL as well as an acronym which tells us what LURE (the laboratory for the use of electromagnetic radiation) stands for. The scientific knowledge of the author was a bright enough attraction for me to keep on reading. I’m a major science nerd and I love learning as much as I can.

John has lived in Saskatoon for four years, a Canadian city full of good people akin to a congregation. After a suspicious visit to his house, he has to go to the police. His only hope of finding out more information is Dr. David Devilliers, someone who works with him. Before he can do that, however, he gets a phone call by a number he doesn’t recognize. Soon after, he learns that Dr. Devilliers has been murdered. He also finds himself in possession of Dr. Devilliers’s computer, so he has to go on the run from police and a government agency known as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Marschall has done his research well about certain places which adds well to his setting descriptions. For example, the author’s knowledge about the Charles de Gaulle airport, that is named after a famous general that led the Free French Forces in World War II. His descriptions about the interior decorations about certain places are also top notch and vivid: “The coffee table was metal and glass, covered in science journals and fashion magazines, and there was a chair to one side that looked like it could double as exercise equipment.”

With enough self-preservation instincts as a benefit to his personality, Dr. John Mueller is a keen workaholic, but due to that extremely cold winter weather in the prairies in the beginning of the book, he feels less in touch with life than he ever has. He lives in Saskatoon, where a parking lot full of various types of vehicles is an everyday occurrence. But after the shockingly surprise of a death that is that of Dr. David Devilliers’, he leaves Canada for Paris, entering a world of duck and dive because of the agency that he has to look out for. He also has Dr. Devilliers’ computer in possession.

The novel doesn’t read like most full-on nail-biting thrillers. The protagonist’s personality is a bit too intellectual for that. The great thing about the novel is that it doesn’t take long for the suspense element of the novel to take effect. “John went through customs without incident, and after taking half a dozen steps, noticed two men standing off to one side, looking intently at arriving passengers.” The author also details what goes on inside a characters’ body in dangerous circumstances. Scientifically speaking, the author can be quite informative as the reason behind Devilliers’ death becomes clear.

Devilliers had been doing research on something new – a medical breakthrough. He is described as an unsocial individual that Mueller didn’t know well. Devilliers had been conversing with two men who worked with the United States Food and Drug Administration. This is where Mueller got important information that could see him through this ordeal as details about Devilliers’ research and Paris had been revealed. Later on in the novel, we learn that the murdered doctor’s research might entail a cure for cancer, and the computer that Mueller eventually gives back to an FDA agent named Shapiro has important information regarding his research.

The novel isn’t all cats and dogs; there is also a bit of romance to this novel that takes away from the suspense element. While in Paris, John meets a woman named Julie and he goes out with her a lot, enjoying the amazing splendours and public attractions that are Paris. They go out on dates that reminds us of classic espionage and romantic films while John isn’t always far away from a phone call about the hunt for his head because of Dr. Devilliers’ death. This romance is short lived, however, but we can clearly see that Julie has harboured a special place in his heart.

John’s name is on the chopping block as well as the media has gone so far as to portray him as the gay lover of Dr. Devilliers, which is untrue. I thought this an interesting touch, but the author hasn’t capitalized on this well enough. Back in Canada, John encounters an attractive woman – Avery – who happens to be the sister of Simon Huber, someone who John discovered was good friends with Dr. David Devilliers in the beginning.

“I hope not, because if you’re gay, you know you’re going to Hell!” There is hardly something to dislike except for sensitive bits that might strike a sour and personal note with homosexual as well as strictly religious readers. Though the scientific knowledge surrounding various things like the cure for cancer and the evolution of man is intriguing for us nerdy types, one has to note the decline of excitement readers might feel while reading the second half of the book that the author uses to focus on these issues that I felt was important for him to convey.

The core theme that is explored is the readiness of the world for a major scientific and medical shift. Yes, we all hope for that magic pill that can be invented someday to cure that stubborn sickness that we know as cancer, but are we ready for a heavenly miracle like that?

Though John is a man on the run for the greater part of the book, he isn’t overly paranoid. He is a smart man. Intelligent. Quick on his feet with an abundance of medical knowledge – definitely one of those brain burners – that overlays all worry of a purely blood pumping thriller. With my hat tipped off to him, Jeff Marschall has done a lot to deliver a satisfactory one with a bang of an ending that anyone who loves this genre will want to read.

Kindle Edition:

Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: January 17, 2019
Genre: Medical Thriller
Pages: 400

View on Amazon

Published by Frank Frisson

Living in Cape Town, South Africa. People often tell me that I should get out more, but I'd rather read my brains out.

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