The Prize

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A breakthrough! Pam Weller’s research for a drug to cure Altzheimer’s disease is a brief step away. She is unaware of a serious piece of skullduggery attempting to thwart her excitement and the possibility of a Nobel prize. Her anxiety mounts steeply when she is temporarily diverted by a less-than-satisfactory tenure review. Her senior professor, who has long been her mentor and is now in part responsible for her promotion, is unexpectedly cool and unenthusiastic, hinting at trouble ahead.

The Prize offers a bird’s-eye view of academia, the ivory castle crumbling as Weller’s potential discovery is stolen by a trusted lab assistant. The pages draw together an account of the meticulous demands of scientific experimentation with a close-up of personal frustration, disappointment, and, indeed, Weller’s naivete. An engrossing thriller, Weller is unaware how she will be blamed when betrayal threatens her possible victory.

The cost of therapeutic drugs is no secret, but the path to their development is closely guarded. Weller, recognizing that her laboratory’s lengthy research is about to pay off, is unaware of a threat about to surface. Eric Prescott, a competing scientist on the same quest and with far more experience and better professional contacts, has set his sights on the Nobel award. He is less honorable than his younger rival who had not dared anticipate reaching an incomparable pinnacle so early in her career.

As the right combination of chemicals is close to revelation, Weller draws her assistants together to explain that if the drug is viable, the order of authorship of their seminal paper will stand as arranged when the trials began. Her assistant Holly is furious. It is her meticulous work about to bring about the revelation. She should become first author. But Weller will not be swayed. It was agreed that Holly’s colleague should be lead author, with Holly listed second, and Weller, the program’s director, listed third, in a format frequently allowing graduate students a head start on their professional path.

In her fury, Holly schemes to cozy up to Prescott at the upcoming convention, hinting that she will reveal the secret in return for a position at his celebrated institute. In warped and dishonorable gratitude he takes her to bed, offering his agreement on the fake promise that he will hire her in exchange for her favors. If this sounds a little hokey, then read more closely! The book provides a serious account of how scientific investigation can be side-tracked by chicanery.

Geoffrey Cooper is an experienced cancer researcher as well as a professor and scientific administrator at notable institutions. He is not only familiar with research competition but a superior writer. He draws the characters realistically, with Prescott as a respected scientist admirable from a distance but abhorrent on closer acquaintance. Weller is vindicated, in part thanks to her private investigator boyfriend’s dedication. The end spirals to a climax that is only partially predictable.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Geoffrey M Cooper
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Bookbaby
Publish Date 2018-Jan-15
ISBN 9781543912000
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2017
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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