The Chemist by Alan J. Field

The ChemistThe Chemist

by Alan J. Field

Kindle Edition, 340 pg.
ThrillRide Media, 2016

Read: November 8 – 10, 2016

I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about this — mostly because I just don’t care, but also because this is going to fall into the “if you can’t say something nice” category — but I told the author I’d say something, so here goes.

This is a dull, poorly written, cliché-filled, convoluted thriller that forgot the thrills. You have a mustache-twirling terrorist (atheistic, but willing to pretend to get what he wants); a couple of mustache-twirling CIA honchos (willing to sell out the Bill of Rights, CIA charter, and anything else to get the “bad guys”); a cosmetics executive that decides to try to sell chemical weapons; a drug-addicted chemist able to be a genius and do something no one’s done before while hallucinating; a CIA op-turned addictions counselor/vigilante; and a few other assorted mustache-twirlers, criminals with hearts of gold, and assorted special-ops types.

Danny Strong (yes, a bit of Buffy-fan pandering), is called out of retirement to help save the world — because he’s the only one who can. He needs to convince a hot young chemist to give him the most deadly toxin ever created to him before it’s sold on the black market in an effort to save her mother’s cosmetics company. Oh, and the chemist does enough coke and heroin to kill a middle school’s worth of kids — yet she does something no one else can duplicate. There are multiple conspiracies afoot here — some never explained well — but that’s the core story. Naturally, he falls for her (in something like 10 days) and is able to finally free himself from grieving over his murdered wife.

There’s a misguided, but probably well-intentioned, Castle tribute here that just annoyed the tar out of me (and I’ve watched every episode at least once, so I’m not complaining about a Castle tribute — I just hope Fillion, Katic, etc. don’t read this novel).

There are so many storylines and details that go nowhere and mean nothing, so many plot points that just don’t work, inconsistent narration, scenes that are impossible to follow (and not just because the book desperately needs a couple of copy edits, see below) that transform this book from a bore to a bad novel.

Now, I know when you self-publish a book, there’s going to be more typos and whatnot in it than your typical book (or, at least, there are bound to be) — but even stuff put out by the Big 5 contains errors that cause copy editors to lose sleep, so I generally don’t hold that against a book. But this was just ridden with spelling and grammatical mistakes — any drinking game invented along the lines of tracking them would leave me unable to write for a week. Repeated sentences/paragraphs, many homonyms (e.g., “hear” instead of “here”), wrong pronouns, sentences that aren’t really anything, simple misspellings, and more. Too often I’d have to stop what I was reading and spend time examining a paragraph/section for a while to see if I could suss out the meaning. Now, I have no problem doing that when something is beautiful or thought-provoking — but when it’s not worth it? No.

I didn’t actively hate this book — but man, there’s just nothing to say to recommend it.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion — he clearly didn’t bribe me. I thank him for the opportunity,


2 Stars

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