Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Choke by Lisa Towles

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Choke
Author: Lisa Towles
Publisher: Rebel ePublishers
Pages: Kindle; 262
Release Date: June 22, 2017
Source: Author
Genre: Thriller / Mystery

HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like reading noir and thriller books.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
Your life is a lie.
The past you remember isn't yours.
There is no one to Trust.

Kerry Stine’s plan to rebuild her life goes into freefall when a patient vanishes from San Francisco General Hospital on her watch, thrusting her down a rabbit hole that leads to a past from which she can no longer escape. Fired, frantic, and running from the police, she trusts no one and every step pushes her further away from logic and reality.

Three thousand miles away, scientist Adrian Calhoun has developed a cigarette that cures lung cancer, and he’s hell bent on distributing his miracle cure before the pharmaceutical mafia gets to him first. Kidnapped by his pursuers, he is held prisoner in exchange for the chemical formula to his invention. His redeemer holds the key to not only his life, but Kerry’s as well. And when the threads finally intertwine, Kerry discovers that what she and Adrian Calhoun have in common will return to her pieces of her past that she never knew she’d lost.

This book was a tricky one to rate. See, at its core, Choke has great bones. The premise of this book, the idea of a tobacco that can cure cancer instead of cause it, is pretty amazing. Just think of all the implications that would bring. Consider how readily big pharma would fight it being released to the masses, in an attempt to hold onto their easy cash flow. It's intriguing, right? We all know that there are things buried out there, things that probably exist but will never see the light of day. That's where Lisa Towles' book draws its ideas from and that's pretty cool.

The major problem with this story is the fact that it's very difficult to track. I'll try to explain the best I can without giving anything away. This book opens with a scene that the reader has no context for. That's not too surprising, since many Noir and Mystery books tend to use this as an opening, and then go back and explain it later. The problem here is that the explanation doesn't happen right away. In fact, more and more scenes unfold in front of the reader, introducing multiple characters who are caught up in this madness, without actually setting any context for them. It took until almost halfway through the book for me to realize what part each character played, why they were being targeted, and why they were so important (or evil as the case may be). It was fairly frustrating, to be honest.

In fact, Kerry's story feels disjointed at the best of times. Even after I started to figure out why she was missing portions of her life, or how she was linked to Adrian Calhoun at all, I was still barely hanging on to a thread of understanding. There is a lot of cloak and dagger type action, and a lot of cutaway scenes, which would normally make for great reading! The problem is that there simply isn't enough explanation given, quickly enough, to keep the reader from being frustrated. People died, and I didn't know who they were. Mysterious figures flitted in and out of Kerry's life and, before I could blink, they were gone. I felt for Kerry, I really did, but mainly because I was just as baffled and lost as she was.

I believe that this book has great potential. Choke has, as I mentioned above, the kind of strong premise that really has the potential to draw readers in. With a little finesse, and maybe some small restructuring, I honestly believe that this book will do well. I'd even happily read it through again. For now, my review stands as above. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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