Ballantine. Jul. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780593157534. $28. THRILLER
Crouch’s latest thriller (following Recursion) takes on the practical and ethical concerns of genetic modification. Twenty years ago, Logan Ramsay’s mother, a renowned scientist who pioneered technology to modify DNA, sought to rid a rice plant of bacteria using her genetic system, but instead it ruined much of the world’s food supply, causing a Great Starvation that led to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Now out of prison for his role in the catastrophe, Logan is working for the Gene Protection Agency, where he hunts for rogue genetic engineers. In the course of his work, Logan gets exposed to a virus whose chief side effect is an “upgrade” to his human genome that presents the most flawless version of himself: a sharper memory, a rapid reading rate, an analytical mind like a computer. His superiors want him contained, but there are others who want to break Logan out to access his new genetic code, and his family history has him asking a key question: Is it worth potentially destroying humanity in order to perfect it?
VERDICT This accessible, swiftly paced, thought-provoking novel should garner Crouch’s widest readership yet. Recommended for fans of science fiction, crime, or spy thrillers.
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