Sunday, April 21, 2013
Poison Pill, a Book Review
The title of the book is extremely fitting. The term "poison pill" refers to a strategy used by corporations to discourage hostile takeovers. By employing a "poison pill", the stock of the company becomes less attractive to the entity trying to acquire it. Poison pill also refers to a medicine that ends up causing damage to the person who swallows it.
The double entendre of this suspense novel's title is intentional. The obesity drug that is central to the book's plot has potentially serious side effects. In the rush to market, the corporation that owns the patents has covered up the research connecting the drug to cancer.
Scientist Jonathan Vickers knew of the drug's failures, but lost control of his biomedical start-up. After Jonathan's death in a Himalayan climbing accident, his brother, Benedict, launches a caper to recover the patents, as well as take revenge against the investment firm that swindled his brother out of his share of the company.
All of this makes for an intense, page-turning medical-legal thriller. The fact that the action begins in Istanbul, a fascinating city that I remember well from my travels, makes the story more interesting and exotic. It is in Istanbul that Benedict first meets disgruntled attorney Olga Mueller, who helps him plot revenge against the law firm that overworked her.
The author's insider knowledge of corporate boardroom scenes and the thankless tasks assigned to low-ranking attorneys color that world in shades of greed. And the faceoff between research scientists testing new medicines and assuring their medicinal effectiveness and profit-seeking corporations who only consider the financial bottom line rings very true.
Although Poison Pill lacks the twists and turns expected of a suspense novel, it still keeps readers riveted to the page as they root for Benedict and Olga to achieve their ultimate revenge. M. A. Granovsky's debut novel takes us deep into the suspenseful world where medical science and law collide. We'll surely meet Benedict and Olga again in the sequel to this story.