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   Babel Effect, The, by Daniel Hecht  
 
  Novel, first publication in 2000
 
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      The Genesis Project, headed by Ryan and Jess McCloud, is researching a fascinating thesis: that violence is a virus, that evil is genetically based, and that neurology can prove what psychology only suggests. A billionaire who heads the world's largest media and technology empire believes the McClouds are onto something with enormous potential value and agrees to underwrite their project, which starts with brain scans of death row inmates and progresses to war zones and killing fields all over the world.

    When pregnant Jess is kidnapped by a religious leader, who fears that science will destroy his faith-based empire, the action ratchets up several levels, skipping over some of the hard science that keeps this would-be thriller mired in detail much of the time. Author Daniel Hecht posits as good a raison d'Ítre for the root causes of violence as any other suspense novelist; it's an intriguing idea, well-worked out in the plot. And Jess McCloud, vainly trying to reconcile her decidedly unscientific faith with scientific empiricism, is an interestingly complex character. Unfortunately, she's missing for much of the novel, and her husband, whose efforts to retrace her research in order to find her, is a much less fascinating hero. But that won't stop fans of Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, et al. for sticking with Hecht to the last page.

    Source: Jane Adams, Amazon.com.

     
     
      Related theme(s)  
     
     
  • Genetic Engineering/manipulation - Bio-engineering
  • Gone Missing - Abductions - Kidnapping - Hostages
  • Sects - Cults
  • Thrillers
  • U.S.A.

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