Of course he has reason to worry, as Unblinded skillfully teases out. Hallman understands reader expectations and seems to relish ramping up tension through the careful introduction and accumulation of developments that suggest something is deeply wrong about OGF83, especially when, in a series of intriguingly disturbing scenes, the characters begin making risky choices in their personal lives, including some shocking violence. Readers will likely have a sense of what’s going on before the characters, but Hallman continually toys with that anticipation.
Eventually, the story builds to a murder investigation. Looming over everything is the economic reality of big pharma chasing a “blockbuster” drug. The prose tends to be workmanlike, never getting in the way of narrative momentum, but Hallman plots the story well and writes engagingly of the science and the politics of drug companies and research institutions. Crucially, he crafts characters who are convincing and engaging enough to keep the pages turning right up to the ending, which satisfies—and even edges toward a welcome hopefulness.
Takeaway: A classic medical thriller about a wonder drug and its mystery side effects.
Great for fans of: Michael Palmer’s Miracle Cure, Paul John Scott’s Malcharist.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A