Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer (2016)

This is the same Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame. The cover caught my eye and I liked the idea of the hero of a thriller being a woman, not just a side-kick. Alex or whatever her name is on her fake ID is on the run. She was a brilliant med student and chemist, who had been working in a top secret federal lab on compounds that affect the nervous system. She called herself the Chemist, one character later called her Poison Lady and Oleander/Ollie for a poisonous plant.  (I thought it was a flower of sorts from memories of the book White Oleander, but turns out it is a shrub.) 

Her mentor/lab partner gets killed and she barely avoids the same fate, so is on the run. She sets up elaborate chemical protections before going to sleep with a gas mask in a bathtub every night. She moves around a lot and tries to leave no trace. She goes to libraries to read up on how to stay safe - from non-fiction, but also thriller novels. I did feel a twinge when she cut out the tattle-tape from a few library books.

She gets an email from her old boss apologizing for trying to kill her on a number of occasions, but that they really need her skills. Some deadly virus is about to be let loose and only she will be able to get the information out of the perpetrator. She knows this could be a trap, which it is.

Her target is Michael, a seemingly mild-mannered teacher who coaches volleyball and works with Habitat for Humanity in Mexico, but that there he has hooked up with evil doers. Strangely he falls for Alex as soon as he set eyes on her - before stuff gets weird. 

Michael's brother Kevin swoops in like Batman and has stashes of weapons and disguises which Alex likes to call his bat caves. The unusual trio run, hide and fight around the country, trying to figure out who has it in for them. They are joined by Val, a sometime girlfriend of Kevin's, who has parleyed her beauty into a lucrative business. She comes in handy with her make-up skills. Then there are the dogs. Kevin raises and trains amazing protective dogs - Einstein , Lola, and others. They are great companions, fiercely loyal, intelligent, and save the human lives more than once.

I have stated before that I don't like torture and there were two scenes I could have done without, but the rest was good. My only quibble with the book is in the happily ever after ending. Would Alex be happy in the fairly mundane role we see her in the epilogue? She is a brilliant scientist. Does she still get to use her talents?

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