Saturday, August 29, 2009

Neuropath-R. Scott Bakker

R. Scott Bakker
Tor, Oct 13 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765321893

Psychologist Tom Bible still misses Nora and their two children following her divorcing him and he loathes his teaching position lecturing bored grad students. He muses about his best friend Neil Cassidy who teaches in California to bored grad students; and recalls the “Argument” re free will or lack of as his friend firmly believed everyone’s brain is pre-wired forcing an individual to choose a pre-determined selection.

Neil visits Tom out of the blue to discuss the Argument in person; proclaiming he has done work for the NSA on destroying the minds of terrorists. Soon after showing up Neil vanishes. The Feds follow him to interrogate and then enlist Tom in their quest to find Neil, who they claim has lost his mind as they show the video of a woman whose brain was rewired; a skill only Neil has. FBI agent Samantha “Sam” Logan insists Tom’s best friend has switched from rewiring known terrorists to average American citizens with his target apparently those inside of Tom’s inner circle.

NEUROPATH is an exhilarating frightening modernization of Dr. Frankenstein using modern science to change the brain, which causes conflict as R. Scott Bakker makes a strong case that naturing is much more powerful than nurturing. The story line is fast-paced even when the lead character debates with himself over what he knows about Neil. Although some subplots seem stretched, fans will appreciate this extremely dark taut thriller filled with shocking twists that looks deep into the Argument of free will vs. pre-determinism; in a modern context of chemical syntax making the choices instead of rational minds. No one who reads Mr. Bakker’s tale will simply accept the words I love you in the same way.

Harriet Klausner

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