In this suspense novel, the second in a three-part series, CiliCold, a small ethical research company, is pitted against Triple S Pharmaceuticals (SSS), a ruthless Big Pharma company.
CEO Meredith Doucette and her head of legal affairs Jasper Giles are fighting for control of SSS. Each wants to acquire the upstart CiliCold into the company because of its research that might lead to a cure for colds. Meredith wants to nurture the company. Jasper, for personal and professional reasons, wants to crush it.
Dr. Jon DeLeon, the head of CiliCold, understands what’s at stake and wants no part of SSS. To stop Big Bad Pharma from coming at him, he hides his team halfway across the country, hoping to fly under the radar. But nothing is going to stop Jasper. If he can’t wipe out CiliCold legally, he has a more lethal solution at the ready.
As a sequel, the book doesn’t completely stand alone. Much of the background is unstated, forcing readers to play catchup, sorting out characters and relationships, as well as discerning the traumatic event that apparently took place in the first book and informs the second. The narrative’s success depends on readers recognizing the good guys from the bad, and the author muddies the waters with cryptic sentences and passing references—a problem overall. On page 3, for instance, readers learn that Meredith’s husband and sons are dead. Says Meredith, “Nine one one’s curse.” Does “Nine one one” refer to the emergency number? 9/11? It’s anyone’s guess, and the subject never comes up again.
The suspense heats up about the time that CiliCold moves the company and plays cat and mouse with SSS, with plenty of twists and turns to hold readers’ interest and even anticipate the last book in the series. But many will be frustrated by then. Readers would be well-advised to start with the first book in the series to fully understand this uneven second offering.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.