Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Douglas E Richards
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
After witnessing the brutality of a heartless psychopath on her family, Erin Palmer grows in her obsession to understand, identify and “cure” psychopathy. As with any obsession, Erin’s actions become ethically questionable as she pushes the boundaries on experimentation with prison inmates. Convinced she is getting closer to a Cure but at the same time jeopardizing lives, her breakthroughs come at yet another price – the attention of powerful forces who either want to help or hinder her progress. Soon Erin learns the shocking truth – her reality is not what she believed it to be and the result of her work has implications far beyond what she would have ever imagined. On the run to protect her work and her life, she is faced with the ultimate choice.
Douglas E Richards latest novel, The Cure, is a genre mashup. It begins solidly as a thriller and about a third of the way in introduces substantial sci/fi elements which carryon throughout the rest of the novel. For those looking for just a thriller this might be a bit of a surprise, but for the reader who enjoys books of this nature, they will find it engaging and thought provoking. For me, the subject of psychopathy, its prevalence, characteristics, and degrees to which it is exhibited as well as its implications was fascinating. Questions of ethics in human experimentation – does the end justify the means, which in the abstract may seem a simple answer but when applied to loved ones, our family and friends, is quite different. The discussion and references to “trolleyology” thought experiments were intriguing and I found myself Googling and taking the various tests associated with these philosophical questions.
To me a testament to how “good” a book is dependent on a few factors – if I can’t put it down, if I think about it long after the last page is read, if I do follow-up research on its themes after, and if I discuss it with others. In the case of The Cure, all of these were true. I look forward to Richards’ next book.