Dead End Deal, by Allen Wyler

Allen Wyler embraces that dictum about writing what you know: he's a Seattle-based neurosurgeon who writes suspense novels about Seattle-based neurosurgeons. His latest effort, Dead End Deal, is the story of Professor Jon Ritter, a neurosurgeon hovering on the brink of a major advancement in the fight against Alzheimer's. After years of work, Ritter's surgical procedure (involving non-human stem cells) is finally ready for a human trial. His professional future has never been brighter... until he becomes the focus of a group of violent anti-abortionists, his funding is pulled, and he's forced to turn to a shady biotech CEO for what turns out to be exceptionally unhelpful assistance.

I generally prefer to enjoy my thrillers as movies, rather than books, as reading gives me too much time to think about plot holes—and, like most action/suspense stories, Dead End Deal has its fair share of plot holes. While the medical elements of the story were fascinating, Ritter's successful evasion of an international manhunt was less plausible, requiring access to seemingly inexhaustible sources of money (he has no problems using his credit card, for example, even in an airport crawling with law enforcement officers looking for him) and the sympathetic assistance of a poorly-developed love interest.

However, the central premise of Dead End Deal was tremendous fun, and let's face it: most suspense readers aren't fans of the genre because it goes into nit-picky detail over mundane issues, or offers in-depth examinations of human relationships. Wyler's book is fast-paced and competently written, with a delicious MacGuffin—a cure for Alzheimer's—and a satisfying payoff. If you're a thriller fan looking for a beach read as smart as it is entertaining, you could do much worse.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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