Can a book about Big Pharma and ad agencies make good fodder for a thriller? Stephen Geez proves they can in his contemporary fiction Fantasy Patch. With characters that leap out of the pages and a plot that kept my head spinning, Geez had me on the edge of my seat in more than one chapter.
Ad man Dante Roenik “just wants to draw”, but he does much more in this fast-paced page-turner. But, when Roenik stumbles into a big pharma conspiracy he does much more than draw. When he and much of his team are unceremoniously dismissed from big ad agency Kehoe/Lundy due to “restructuring”, they band together to form their own business. Encouraged and assisted by soon to retire Frank Dellman, his former Vice President, the team sets out to expose a pharmaceutical company’s dangerous new drug, Parzilac. M-Slovak seems to be involved in covering up the violent die effects of the drug.
As the story progresses once failed newsman, Hal Neusome, becomes the face of stories swirling around M-Slovak. Along with indomitable cameraman, Byron, they seem to be at locations when all hell breaks loose. Aided by a couple of “spy guys”, men who are used to surveillance and more, they pursue the dragon of M-Slovak.
But, Parzilac isn’t the only drug in this tale. Along comes Aller-Tat; a colorful press on temporary tattoo that can identify a person’s allergy, relieving the minds of parents and adults. Using kid-friendly characters, the “tats”. Are sure to become popular with concerned mommies and daddies, as well as the kiddies who will be entranced with the dragons, fairies, and all the other designs.
There are no minor characters in this book. Each one is invested with a definite personality; character flaws and strengths. Kristen, Byron, Billy Sizemore and his Wave Slicer, Melissa, and even her little son Taj, are intricate pieces in the story of good versus evil, right versus wrong. It’s a book where you are rooting hard for the good guys throughout while wondering if they will survive, ethics intact.
Meanwhile, Dante is pursuing his love relationship with lawyer girlfriend Cyn SiCauge. Stepping up to represent families negatively impacted by Parilax, she and Dante are a formidable team. He dreams of a future with her, but Cyn seems to be more intent on her career than marriage and babies.
Friends are made, secrets exposed, and there is an unexpected twist that was stunning. Geez skillfully keeps all the balls in the air, and characters who seem minor become integral to the outcome of the tale. The action is non-stop and much like media itself, every turn reveals another piece of the puzzle.
With characters you can love and hate, dialogue that is sharp and believable, and a winding plot, Fantasy Patch provides an inside look at the machinations of public relations, big pharmacy, and the high dollars moving around in both fields. This is definitely a thriller you will race through, eager to reach the tense and exciting climax and the very satisfying conclusion.
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