Review: Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler

Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler
Published by Astor + Blue Editions, LLC on 2013-01-01
Pages: 384
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World-renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted nonhuman stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same. Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help. After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Dead End Deal is a fast-paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. A smart, unique, page-turner, Dead End Deal delivers.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publicists at Blue Dot Literary in exchange for an honest review.

I picked up Dead End Deal right after The Car Thief, which was a problem at first. It wasn’t that Dead End Deal was bad at the beginning. It was just different. Sometimes different can be a little off-putting for a while, at least for me. It took me a little while to acclimate to the narrative change. Once I did, it was smooth sailing.

Allen Wyler crafts a solid thriller with Dead End Deal. What I appreciate is that he decided to play with the format of the genre. He experimented, took some risks, and ultimately succeeded. Instead of trying to figure out who the bad guy is , Weyler gives us the rare opportunity to be the kind of omniscient reader who knows all and sees all. We know who he is from the beginning. This format might be a problem for other thrillers. Sometimes a weak story needs that mystery to hold it together. I know from my own experience that figuring out “whodunit” is the only reason I’ll finish a book. With Dead End Deal, I wanted to finish because I was invested in the story.

There were a few gripe worthy moments, though. Wyler tends to add a lot of product placement to his story. I felt like brands were starting to take over (Droid, Kindle, etc.). I know we use these things on a daily basis, but ultimately I think it will date the story. Because technology evolves at such a rapid pace, just a short time from now someone will be reading this book and thinking “Wow, this guy is behind the times!” I think that creating a timeless story is really important. If Droid were replaced with cell phone or smart phone, readers in the future could picture what they want based on the most current technology.

My other gripe worthy moment was when Jon Ritter kept using his credit card while on the run and the police could never catch him. I kept screaming in my head, “THEY CAN TRACK YOU!! CASH ONLY!” I will give Wyler a little credit. At the end of the novel, Ritter mentions the possibility of being tracked and that he doesn’t care. Okay, that’s fine. I just wish it had been addressed sooner. It was one of those moments that made the story just a bit unbelievable for me. That, and when he escaped from the Canadian airport without getting  caught. And when Nigel Feist suddenly got a conscience.

BUT! Don’t let my little gripes get in the way of you enjoying Dead End Deal by Alan Wyler. It’s fast paced, you get to go to exotic locations (Korea, for example), and you get to learn a little bit about the relationship between bio-tech companies and those who conduct academic research. All in all, Dead End Deal is a winner.


© 2012 – 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.