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The Bones of Paris: A Novel of Suspense
Laurie R. King

Confessions of a Male Nurse

Confessions of a Male Nurse - Michael      Alexander Confessions of a Male Nurse follows in the footsteps of books like Confessions of a GP and Life and Death on the Streets to chronicle the real-life experiences of a male nurse while he worked in both the UK and New Zealand. The book is split into short chapters dealing with one patient or one setting, and this makes the book very easy and quick to read. Perfect if you don’t want to be tied to reading a book for several days; it’s also easy to put down and pick up again without having to go back over parts of the story.Whilst I enjoyed reading Confessions of a Male Nurse, it wasn’t as humorous as I would have liked it to be, especially considering it’s marketed as “frequently hilarious”. There were some points when I had a little smile but nothing caused me to laugh out loud. There was also a lack of deep, emotional stories; at no point did I feel that the nurse was particularly affected by what he had seen on an emotional level. He did show frustration at the state of the NHS and some of the situations he was put in but if you are looking for a tell-all on the state of the National Health Service this isn’t the book for you.Overall Confessions of a Male Nurse was an enjoyable quick read. I would recommend it if you like similar books in this genre or fancy something light to read but if you are looking for real humour or an expose, you are going to be left wanting.

Living Proof

Living Proof - Kira Peikoff Living Proof is set a in a world where the church and the state are closer than ever. In a very religious society the progress made by 2012 in stem cell treatment has all but been forgotten; embryos cannot be used for experimentation or treatment, only their use in procreation is allowed. However even in this world there are those who remember the potential benefits of stem cell treatment, people like Arianna, a fertility doctor with a personal motive to continue the research, no matter what the cost. But will her new boyfriend be a blessing or a curse to her cause?The subject matter of Living Proof is very relevant in today’s society and the book portrays both sides of the controversy. It is obvious the author favours science, as at times the religious argument is put across in a somewhat flippant manner through the way the religious characters are portrayed. I personally didn’t like this, as a constant thread though the book was essentially that the religious characters were extremists and almost stupid because of their beliefs. I did however enjoy the way Trent, who works for an enforcement agency protecting embryos, questions his faith in an intelligent and fascinating way which came across as very real because you could feel his confusion. From the science side, which I personally support, some arguments were ‘preachy’ and very run-of-the-mill. I would have preferred, from both sides, for characters other than Trent to have more varying opinions and degrees of belief; this would have made the characters more interesting and complex.There is a romantic sub-plot in this thriller. Whilst I’m not normally a fan of romance, it was done well and I did find myself routing for the couple by the end. Again, this is something that could have been taken further, and whilst there was some conflict, this could have been more complex to make it more interesting and less predictable.The book was somewhat let down by the drop in pace in several parts which detracted from the suspense and left me slightly bored. Despite these slow parts, usually where characters were introduced or explored, there were still some characters, such as those in Arianna’s lab team, that I felt I didn’t know by the end of the book. Along side this there are small plot problems that make Arianna less believable as a character – why would she trust Trent so fast? Why does her MS progress so quickly in a matter of weeks?Overall this book is an interesting look at a possible and realistic future. I enjoyed reading it, as I think other science/medical thriller fans will, due to the ethics involved. The plot does take a backseat to the pro-choice agenda and this may put some readers off. Christians and those who are strongly pro-life will also probably want to avoid this due to the characterisation of religious people; whom in this book are definitely the bad guys. I would especially recommend this for book clubs and school groups due to the discussions it will spurn, in fact I would have liked to see a ‘questions for discussion’ section or similar, which can often be found in similar books.

One Breath Away

One Breath Away - Heather Gudenkauf This book cannot be accused of taking things slow, One Breath Away immediately throws the reader into the heart of the action. On page one we are confronted with a bed-bound mother, receiving the phone call all parents dread, her thirteen year old daughter on the phone telling her that there is a gunman in her classroom. From this running start, Heather Gudenkauf does not let up; the reader is taken on a rollercoaster ride though this nightmare scenario, the short chapters helping create pace. This was literally a book I could not put down, starting reading it at 8am and finishing it before 12.In the style of Jodi Picoult in My Sister’s Keeper, the story is told by several different characters: Holly – the mother, Augie – the daughter, Mrs Oliver – the teacher, Meg – the police officer and Will – Holly’s father. This gives a wonderful emotional varity to the book, as you look on the situation from a number of perspectives. I was originally concerned that with so many characters telling the story it would be hard to follow or I would find it difficult to get to know all the characters (like Julia in My Sister’s Keeper) but this was not the case. Not once did I have to check which character was speaking and the back story was so wonderfully woven into the narrative of each character that you easily got to know the characters. Apart from the first chapter, Gudenkauf avoids using a non-linear timeline – which also helps to allow the reader to get to know the characters and follow the story.The characters are believable throughout, helped by how the author acknowledges their faults and weaknesses. I especially connected with Mrs Oliver, the grade-school teacher, and was moved to tears by the love she had for her students, and her love for her husband, whom she imagines speaking to her for much of the novel. Also impressive was the way the plot deviated from the typical school-shooter plot – there was no depressed and angry teenager, instead the identity of the shooter came as a complete surprise. It was also refreshing to see a small rural town not being portrayed as being full of hicks, with an inept police department. No predictability here.Overall, an engrossing, well conceived story told in a beautiful and compassionate way, with great characterisation. Having never having read Heather Gudenkauf before, she is now a must-read author for me and I look forward to checking out her previous work. Highly recommended for fans of authors such as Jodi Picoult or for those who prefer more ‘cosy’, but emotional thrillers.

A Slow Cold Death

A Slow Cold Death - Susy Gage When I stumbled across an ARC of Susy Gage’s first novel, A Slow Cold Death, I was instantly interested. The premise is interesting and the book ticked all the right boxes for me – thriller, science in fiction, high body count and written by an actual scientist (the best science stories are always written by scientists).The prologue is typical thriller and is instantly gripping; I always love a novel when there is a death within the first few pages. However after that the novel goes downhill fast as the pace slows to a crawl and a large cast of characters are introduced. Apart from an accident in a BSL3 lab there is little to move the story along and so the first chapters are dull and lack the thread of suspense a thriller should have. This continues for the first half of the book – there is no real suspense or sense of danger. At times the main character, Lori or her colleague Lou, refer to someone being out to get them, but this has the effect of taking away the suspense, rather than increasing it. The lack of danger may originate from the fact the characters don’t really react to the threat for much of the first quarter to half of the book. Past the half-way mark the threat level and suspense does increase but even at it’s peak had little effect on me as a reader and I believe the impact would have been greater if it was more subtly done from the start and given a chance to build up – having the characters aware of the threat so early means it has lost all meaning by the end.The writing style is good for the most part although there is a lot of jumping around in the first part of the novel, which makes it difficult for the reader to follow what is going on. This is not helped by having a large cast of characters, some with nick-names that are only used on and off. I found myself re-reading sections on numerous occasions; a particularly memorable example was when the narrative suddenly referred to a plot as if the reader already knew about it, and I had to check I hadn’t missed anything. As you go through the book there is less jumping around, making the plot easier to follow, and by the half-way mark I was clear on what was happening and the book became much more enjoyable to read. However had I not been reading to review I would have put the book down before I reach that point.After the half-way point the book gets much better, a clearer plot and more suspense meant I was anxious to continue reading; this is what a thriller should be like. The fact that at this point there are several suspects results in the reader trying to piece together all the pieces and you start to connect with the characters. The ending, whilst not expected, was anti-climatic, not helped by the fact Lori Barrow takes almost a back seat towards the end of the novel. Looking back the plot makes sense, although I have a minor issue with the believability of some of the scenarios. Whilst the novel is a piece of fiction, I’m a strong believer that novels such as this should have a ring of believability and at times A Slow Cold Death lacks this, with the characters breaking into labs and stealing samples with impunity. This meant that I was not as immersed as I could have been in the story, which was a shame.I was reading the ARC as a .pdf on a Kindle, and as such, whilst there were formatting errors, I am overlooking those in my rating. From looking at the publisher’s website it seems that they know the e-book market and so I have no doubt that formatting will be addressed in the retail formats of the book. There were some cases of missing punctuation, especially full stops, and I would hope that this would be addressed before the book comes out in November.Overall, the first quarter of the book I could happily have done without but once the story got going it was good and enjoyable to read. The characters are interesting and clearly defined, and the plot addresses, although not directly, some of the issues within the scientific community. I wouldn’t class it as a thriller, more of a cosy mystery due to the lack of suspense for much of the book. Unfortunately, whilst the premise was good and the story picked as the book progressed, the first quarter of the book, along with the lack of suspense, ruined it for me and the book didn’t live up to my expectations – although I accept that perhaps my expectations were wrong.A Slow Cold Death will be published on November 1st 2012 and a dead tree copy is available to pre-order from Barnes & Noble for $10.11. Hopefully more outlets and an e-book format will become available nearer to release.A note about the publisher: Whilst A Slow Cold Death disappointed me, I was intrigued by the publisher Biting Duck Press. It is a fledging press run by academics, its green, has genre focuses including science in fiction and medical thrillers, and also seems to have an understanding of how the publishing world is changing in light of the rise in e-books. I wish them the best of luck and have already discovered an interesting book that I’ll be on the lookout for in 2013. The world needs more publishers for science in fiction novels!

Tag (The Zumar Chronicles, #1)

Tag  - Simon Royle In the TAG universe everyone is monitored via a device called a dev stick which monitors a person’s every move. When Jonah, an arbitrator, is called to interrogate a prisoner, he discovers a disturbing plot to wipe out two-thirds of all humans, and knows he must stop it. But can he save the majority of the population, when his own life is being de-constructed around him.TAG is set 100 years in the future, with a very detailed and believable universe. Rather than recreating everything from scratch, the author has allowed a natural evolution of technology and behaviour which gives the book a very realistic feel, and as such it is not a ‘strong’ sci-fi, which is great for readers like me who like sci-fi elements rather than full on, hardcore science-fiction. The plot its self is more of a thriller than a sci-fi and has a very Orwellian theme running throughout. Whilst fully formed, the plot takes a while to get going, particularly with the wordy writing style and the author’s focus on the intricate details of the character’s life, and the true suspense does not kick in to near the end of the book. It is however, an enjoyable read and the characterisation is, like the universe, very believable.The book was let down by the addition of some very explicit sex scenes which did not contribute to characterisation nor the plot. I’m not a prude, but do not like to see sex included just for the sake of sex, which I believe is the case in this novel. It is definitely not a book for minors.To conclude, a perfectly formed and well-thought out universe is presented in this novel and provides the backdrop for a believable and entertaining thriller. The book is affected by a slow pace in the first half and the inclusion of unnecessarily explicit sex.

Chernobyl Murders

Chernobyl Murders - Michael Beres Chernobyl Murders was a surprising diamond in the rough. When I first started reading the book I didn’t have very high expectations but I pushed on as it was set against the backdrop of the Chernobyl Disaster. I quickly was hooked by the believable technical details and the intriguing plot; this resulted in me finishing the book in a few hours, despite the story being slow to start. The book follows Lazlo Horvath, a police detective in Kiev as he tries to clear his brother’s name from involvement in a supposed terrorist attack on the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station before the KGB arrest him and his brother’s mistress for involvement in the attack. This gives the story good pace once it gets going and provides plenty of action.The book is unfortunately let down by the writing. The characters, despite having moments of tangibility, are often predictable, wooden and their voices are stereotypical; at times merge into one. This is particularly seen in the case of the two PK officers – who, for most of the book, are interchangeable and woefully unbelievable. The prose is also awkward at times and in places incredibly dull.The ending was something that really puzzled me. Set in the present day, it involves an encounter between Horvath’s niece and a spy in modern day Kiev. It left me confused and cheapened the ending. Therefore I felt the book would have been better ending with the previous chapter.Overall, Beres should be praised for his research and fantastic plot; these points on their own make this a great read for those with an interest in nuclear disasters, Chernobyl in particular. It would also appeal to those who like novels based around the fall of the Soviet Union, as this political change is regularly referred to for context. However the poor writing style and one dimensional characters mean that some of the trill is lost and the book leaves you feeling slightly disappointed at end.


Click - Lisa Becker Click: An Online Love Story does exactly what it says on the tin. It tells the story of four friends in their quest for love (or in some cases lust) through a series of e-mails. We follow PR girl Renee through the ups and downs of the dating world.Romance is not usually my thing but I found the premise of a story told solely through e-mails intriguing. Whilst I had my doubts, this format does work well once you get used to it and the characters’ voices are clear; although there were a few occasions when I had to check the To: and From: fields to be sure who was speaking. It was also refreshing to see an indie book that was correctly formatted, complete with cover and metadata, and displayed well on both my PC and Kindle. Kudos, Ms Becker. One slight niggle though, the e-mail addresses for the online dating site are in the wrong format i.e. xxx@xxxxx.com/xxxx instead of xxx@xxxxx.com – such a tiny thing but once I noticed it once I kept noticing – which was a bit distracting. Overall though I don’t think the e-mail format will hold readers who are not IT literate back.The plot is simple but humorous, making this a great light read. I found the e-mails from potential suitors particularly funny and at one point was laughing out loud. The characterisation is fantastic for most of the characters, though at times Shelly is a little ‘overdone’ for my taste. Renee in particular is very relatable for a young audience, and some of the situations seem to spring right from my life (making out with best friend anyone?!).Overall, a wonderful, well crafted story with a quirky style. There is love, friendship and sex in barrels which combines to create a fun and funny novel. It doesn’t seem as long as it’s 347 pages - for me it was a quick read and an enjoyable way to spend an evening. So it gets 4.5 stars from me!

Can You Survive Antarctica?: An Interactive Survival Adventure (You Choose Books)

Can You Survive Antarctica?: An Interactive Survival Adventure (You Choose Books) - Rachael Hanel I've taught teenagers about Antarctica and finding appropriate and interesting resources for the student's to develop their knowledge outside of the classroom is difficult. Can You Survive Antarctica? is set to change all this. It is an 'interactive book', which means that children and teenagers can choose their own path through the book by reading different pages, leading to different endings. It adds an element of fun and game play, which hopefully will encourage them to continue reading. There are three paths "early explorer", "modern day adventure" and "living and working in Antarctica". All paths combine aspects of history and geography, and often include elements of science and survival skills.The book begins with a general chapter discussing what Antarctica is like, with key geographical facts such as average temperatures which makes this book an excellent source of information for project work/homework. It then asks the students to choose which path they would like to follow. The story like style of the book, and the elements of danger, will distract children from the fact that it is a non-fiction book. Offering choices, such as the choice between the better equipped Scott expedition or the more experienced Amundsen expedition, helps promote students problem-solving and critical thinking skills. After finishing all three paths, readers will have a well-rounded knowledge of the history and geography of Antarctica, and what life is like living there.The layout of the book is clean and modern, shaking off the image of boring non-fiction books. This clean, modern feel is replicated in the pictures and maps chosen, which, in the main, are colourful and appealing. In terms of reading age, it is generally appropriate for KS2-KS3, in my opinion, which is ages 7-14, however some words, by necessity, are more difficult, and KS2 and low ability KS3 students may struggle with them, although there is a very good glossary provided in the back of the book.As an educator, the book provides a quiz and further information sources, which should consolidate and extend learning.. However, the quiz is more focused on survival skills, and is not useful for assessment, and the 'Read More' section could have been longer to provide a greater selection of paper based resources. The FactHound code, used to produce a list of verified, trusted websites, is an excellent idea, as it will give parents/educators the peace of mind that their children/students are getting reliable, appropriate information from the internet.Overall this is an excellent book where learning takes place almost by accident. From a parents/educator's point of view, it is a well-researched, non-fiction book that will keep children and teenagers engaged and entertained while they are learning. For children/teenagers, I believe they will enjoy the choices given and the style of the writing, which makes it read more like a fiction book rather than a non-fiction book. A must have for any school or public library![An advance reading copy was provided by Capstone Press]

Slabscape: Reset

Slabscape: Reset - S. Spencer Baker Slabscape: Reset is not my usual type of read, but I was very impressed with the level of imaginative realism in this sci-fi outing. The plot and characters are very believable, humour was weaved throughout the plot and it reminded me a little of the Red Dwarf universe. There were times when the pace of the book slowed but overall the book was well paced, and as such I was left wanting more at the end.I liked the idea of an online resource providing additional information and value to the book, and whilst I personally didn’t find it all that useful, I can see many readers enjoying the material provided there. The wiki will probably become more useful and interesting as the series progresses. Overall Slabscape is a very humorous and believable sci-fi outing. Drago as a character is easily the most thought-out and well written character I have come across this year.

The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines

The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines - Brent R. Stockwell Brent R. Stockwell takes the reader through on a journey through the history and future of drug development in his book The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines.It is written in a very accessible style and so is open to both those with a scientific background and those who do not. Although a basic grasp of biology will ease things along. As well as dealing with the science of drug development Stockwell also deals with the business side of the pharmaceutical industry, a combination lacking in similar books. I was particularly interested in his exploration of the role of ‘undruggable’ proteins in diseases such as cancer, and how these pose an issue for drug developers. Professor Stockwell’s expertise in this area clearly shows and I especially liked the many anecdotes from his own work that were included.Overall this is a very interesting and up to date book, which although aimed at those with an academic/professional interest in the topic, is accessible to a much wider audience. It was of particular interest to me as I trained in a field closely related to drug development.

Midnight Fear (Chasing Evil Trilogy #2)

Midnight Fear - Leslie Tentler Midnight Fear is Leslie Tentler’s second novel and follows Agent Novak’s dangerous job to catch a copycat killer before he kills the ex-socialite Caitlyn Cahill.The book starts with a bang – or more accurately a murder and does not slow down after that. The plot is complex and in places very chilling, although the characterisation, particularly of Novak is at times a bit hit and miss, perhaps a bit 2D for my liking. I didn’t realise that this was a romantic suspense until I started reading, this for me spoilt the book a bit as I felt it detracted from the plot – though this is my personal preference. Overall an interesting read with a great ending. The book is let down by the unbelievable lead character and, in my opinion, a token romance plot. All in all, the brilliant plot outweighs the downsides - which is why this has a four-star rating.

Confessions of a GP (The Confessions Series)

Confessions of a GP - Benjamin  Daniels I do like a good, reality-based laugh and whilst not explicitly marketed as humour, with a blurb stating the book is very funny and when linked with books such as Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor, the reader would be justified in expecting a good few laughs. Unfortunately this is where the book was disappointing, there were a few humorous stories, a patient having pornographic dreams about Tom Jones, to name one, but there was an overall lack of humour. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic, but this book is distinctly less funny than other examples of the genre.What was refreshingly different about Confessions of a GP there was less angry ranting than similar books, although it still exposed the short falls of the system. Dr Daniels himself comes off more a someone who is frustrated with a system that he sees is failing his patients and not sticking the NHS ethos, rather than an man who is opinionated just for the sake of it.Overall, whilst I did find the book a bit of a let down in terms of humour, it did give an accurate, non-ranting look at the life of a modern GP and was enjoyable to read.

Maddie - A Verdade da Mentira

Maddie - A Verdade da Mentira - Gonçalo Amaral I don’t believe in banning books, unless they are written from a criminal wanting to profit from his crime, as such I was shocked to find out that Goncalo Amaral’s book, Maddie: The Truth of the Lie, written by an investigator who worked on the case, had been banned following a law suit by the missing child’s parents. As of October 2010, that ban has been lifted (see here) but the book still has not been published in English. As a follower of True Crime accounts, and having reviewed two previous works, mainly focussed on the abduction theory of Madeleine’s disappearance, I decided to read and review Amaral’s account of the investigation, which whilst following the various hypothesis that his team came up with during the investigation, settles on the hypothesis that Madeleine was accidentally killed in the apartment.The book is written in such a way that you truly feel that you are following the developments of the investigation, only occasionally jarred out of this by a retrospective comment. You feel both the excitement and frustrations of the team at critical points in the investigation. It is also the only book on the topic in which I have found significant information on the case that I was previously unaware of, such as the positive identification by the Smith family of Ireland of Gerry McCann as the man seen carrying a small child through the streets on the night Madeline disappeared, and information held by British police suggesting one of the McCann’s friends and fellow holiday maker, had made inappropriate comments about Madeline prior to her disappearance. Amaral also addresses, indirectly, some of the questions and accusations raised in Danny Collin’s book Vanished: The Truth about the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (review here).One major downside to the book is the formatting and occasional use of strange sentence structures seen in the English translation. However, it is quite possible that this is due to the book being translated and copied onto the website, rather than errors in the original copy, but it is something to be aware of. There is also a factual inaccuracy in an early chapter where Amaral talks about the possibility of Madeleine being drugged by Calpol. In fact Calpol itself does not contain an anti-histamine as alleged in the book, and so does not have a sedating effect on children, which would explain the described confusion and denial by Kate McCann that Calpol could have been used to sedate the children. A form of Calpol called Calpol Night, which is not as frequently used in the UK as regular Calpol, does contain an anti-histamine so could make a child drowsy, through it would not truly sedate them. It is unknown if this inaccuracy, which is misleading and presented badly in the book, is due to a true error on Amaral’s part, a translating issue, or an attempt to deceive.Amaral’s book is full of anti-British statements, not surprising considering that this was suggested to be the reason he was removed from the McCann investigation in the first place. The anti-British statements come in two forms, those directed at the police and politicians of the UK and those directed at English culture in general. The former are hard to verify, and revolve around the lack of information and cooperation given to Portuguese investigators, the latter, are quite offensive to me as a Brit, suggesting that British parent’s regularly drug their children and prefer to off-load them on others rather than looking after them themselves. These offensive statements seem to have evolved through both cultural differences and misinformation, although they perhaps do apply to the situation in question, they are certainly not true representations of British parenting and Amaral should not have generalised in this way. I have to admit these statements where quite off putting for me as a reader, and distracted me from the point of the book, I fear this could be particularly distorting and distracting for those who are unaware of British culture, and could misinform their views of the case.Overall, a detailed and compelling account of the investigation into this tragedy. All hypotheses’ are covered, according to the importance given to them by the original investigation, and evidence is explained clearly and linked to each hypothesis. I was surprised at the number of times that Amaral acknowledged the shortcomings of the investigation, almost in a apologetic way, and although there is a clear prejudice developing near the end against the McCann’s, the book is definitely less bias than the other two accounts I have read, and the accusations are justified and backed up, although sometimes minimally, by evidence.It should be noted that this review is based on an English translation by Anna Andress and not the bound, published version of the book.

Long Gone

Long Gone - Alafair Burke Alice Humphrey, fiercely independent daughter of a movie tycoon, gets her dream job after months of searching. It all seems too good to be true, well, that’s because it is. When her manager is found dead in the gallery, in the midst of accusations of child pornography, Alice suddenly finds her life turned up side down and discovers years of deceit has led to her being the police’s number one suspect in her bosses death.Alafair Burke’s latest offering starts slowly, and it did take me a while to get into it, especially with the constant switching between characters during the first short chapters. However, it soon gets going and it becomes a gripping read. What really sets this book apart is that it doesn’t go for the ‘easy’ plot option, instead an idea is dangled in front of the reader then snatched away; the plot turns are unexpected which makes the novel even more suspenseful. Overall a fantastic thriller, with many twists and turns, and a very surprising ended.[A review copy was provided by Avon]

Go the F**k to Sleep

Go the Fuck to Sleep - Ricardo Cortés, Adam Mansbach Go the F**K to Sleep is the nightly routine that many parents go through, as such I am surprised that this is the first time someone has turned it into satire in this way. The book, designed to mimic a children's story book, is the internal dialogue of an exhausted farther who's daughter just won't sleep.The book had me in stitches from page one, although most of the humour seemed from the 'naughtyness' of the liberal swearing throughout, this is not a high-brow satirical piece but is nevertheless a great read. I especially liked the ending, which happened to my own parents more than once over the years. The illustrations however are generally unappealing and the use of several different children in the illustrations instead of just one is confusing and unnecessary. Amusing as it may be, it is not a work of literary genius with lines such as "How come you can do all this other great s*!t, But you can’t lie the f*@k down and sleep?"Overall, it is an amusing story, which all parents will be able to relate to, and would make a great little gift for new parents. Obviously this is not a children's book and should probably be kept away from little readers due to the language.Go the F**K to Sleep is available from Amazon UK for £4.54 and from Amazon US for $7.35. There is also a free audio book version available from Audible, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.[An ARC copy was provided by Open Road Media]


Transfection - David Gaughran Transfection for me was a let down – the cover was perfect, the blurb intriguing and concept exciting but the execution – just didn't live up to the promise. Transfection is a short story of only 5,700 words, I have nothing against short stories but hold them to the same standards as a full novel, and that was where Transfection failed for me. The whole book reads like a proposal for a novel, it is very descriptive, as if you are being told the story rather than reading it. In addition the story seems to jump in time at several points with little signposting which made the book feel disjointed and even more of a ‘proposal’. The characterisation was good, especially considering the length of the book, although at times Dr Peters’ character undergoes quite dramatic shifts that are not fully explained or explored, although perhaps this is due to the length of the book.Overall, the premise was excellent and had the promise to be an excellent example of the medical thriller genre and I hope Gaughran continues to come up with such interesting plots. However, the execution was sub-standard, and the book felt more like reading a proposal for a new novel, rather than a stand-alone story it’s self. There was too much ‘tell’ on the part of the author and at times the story jumps around which disrupts the flow although it does mean that the story is pacey. This story could have easily been much longer, and it was ambitious for Gaughran to attempt to fit such a full plot into such a small number of pages.