Remember Michael Crichton's The Terminal Man? A bit of mind-bending science mixed with some seriously intense scenes of blood and guts and horror? It worked like a charm for Mr. Crichton and it works for Mr. Tully's The Chimera Seed.
Michael Tiernan, the bourbon-swigging CEO of Oisín Pharamceuticals, discovers after his father's death that Tiernan the Elder had stumbled onto an amazing little find while researching resveratrol, the compound in grapes thought to have strong anti-oxidant properties -- a purplish concoction named Dionysinol that doesn't only stop aging, it reverses it. And is a powerful aphrodisiac. Talk about a Viagra effect.
Tiernan the Younger wants to sell Dionysinol and make a gazillion dollars. Tiernan the Elder's former partner, Ivan Falters, wants to destroy it. And everyone else involved in the fracas wants to either drink it, steal it, or use it for their own devious ends.
Ladies, if you've never read a science-y suspense thriller, this is the place to start. Two of the characters, Lori Adams and Mary McKenna, are the most interesting gals I've seen in popular fiction for a while. They are intelligent and polite and pretty and gracious and will smile while sewing your mouth shut. Or torching a gentleman's junk off. Or cutting their own legs to fake a miscarriage on the spur of the moment. Whoa.
What to drink while reading The Chimera Seed: While bourbon is the most consumed drink in the book, with grappa and rye each making guest appearances, this is a tome that cries out for a kicky red wine. If you want to go all authentic, spring for something like a Cannonau di Sardegna directly from Sardinia, an island that plays a big role in the book. But cheap plonk works just fine too. Even the kind that comes out of a box. I should know.
Verdict? Mr. Tully's writing puts me in mind of Michael Crichton: a little, but not too much, science, memorable characters, and a plot that trots along at a nice pace. An excellent addition to the freaky science novel genre. And did I mention there will be a sequel?