Max Carver is an artist on his way to Amsterdam to support his girlfriend, Erica Stroud-Jones, who has an important paper to deliver at a conference in regards to new research about fighting malaria. However, the night before she is due to give her talk, she disappears.
When Max tries to investigate her disappearance, he is drawn into the dangerous underworld of pharmaceutical research and competitiveness. While he is led astray by the alluring thief who he witnessed steal Erica's laptop, various other people try to find a cure to a mysterious new strain of malaria that has seemingly affected people on a flight to Amsterdam (which Max was on as well). Intercut with all this are diary extracts from Erica about a trip to Africa several years earlier.
"The Most Gripping Thriller You Will Ever Read".
That's what is plastered across the front cover of this less-than-thrilling adventure tale.
Seriously, who thought that was an effective way to sell the book?
With so many good, thrilling books to choose from out there from multiple decades, it's just a stupid claim to make. I doubt many people will find this to be the most gripping thriller they've ever read, unless they've never read a book before. How about just saying: "A gripping thriller"? You're kind of setting yourself up for a fail with bold statements such as the one already on the cover.
This was far from the most gripping thriller I've read. It jumps between too many characters to ever develop any of them to any degree of satisfaction. Main character Max Carver transforms from a supposedly chubby ex-Coast Guard officer into a highly efficient Jason Bourne knock-off. It doesn't ring true.
It all reads like an immature boys-own adventure, complete with an alluring female thief whose clothes keep falling off and who gets horny whenever danger is afoot. It just made me roll my eyes.
The endless flashbacks in every other chapter were a major drawback for me, as well. They definitely could have been cut down. It points to the "bad guy" motivation, but could have been divulged far earlier than it actually was.