The X-Cure by Bruce Forciea

This international thriller/conspiracy theory/novel starts with a great action sequence, full of assailants in ski masks, early-hours careening through the streets of Beijing in an enclosed van, and a great deal of disorientation, pain, and unpleasant surprise.

However, we then drop back to the real beginning, which contains a great deal of backstory and information without much action at all. This author tries to do too much, to cover too many elements of the story. We get an excess of detail about far too many peripheral characters, settings, and scientific procedures.

From the promotional material, we are not surprised to find that this author spends a lot of his time explaining complex scientific procedures to non-scientific people. However, novel readers are not college classes, and “show, don’t tell” is their mantra.

The story involves the creation of a new cancer cure, set against the shady international background of Big Pharmaceutical. The main characters spend the first half of the book trying to develop their product in secret, until – as the reader expects – something goes wrong.

Once the action finally gets going, the story is captivating. The two main characters, Alex and his always-second-best brother, Mark, are well rounded, with a realistic and complex relationship between the two that drives the main conflict of the story. The love story is intense and revealed with heartfelt emotion. The twists of the plot are well thought out and lead to short sections of tense action.

Mr. Forciea is an accomplished writer who has not yet made the style switch from scientific writing to Fiction. I look forward to improvement in the future. The strength of the story is its complex plot, its believable characters, and the careful scientific research the author has done. Its weakness is the mass of description, especially of the scientific research.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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