Yes, yes..another blog tour! Most unusual for me to have 2 in one week, but this book sounded too good to miss – and today is publication day in paperback!
With many thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroup for the opportunity to be included in this book tour in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Natalie Thompson is an investigative film director, tasked with making a documentary on the threat of bioterrorism. She is quickly made aware of an Ebola outbreak in central Africa which is being kept under wraps by the authorities, and the journalist in Natalie seeks to find a way into the local healthcare system in order to search for answers. She gains the trust of medical staff by posing as a film maker for a Western aid charity who wishes to learn more about their vaccination programme. Whilst in Africa, a contact introduces her to a Zimbabwean terrorist group and she must take on yet another undercover persona, posing as a blogger and Western African rights sympathiser. Is it possible that these terrorists are really planning to give the West a dose of “African disease”?
Meanwhile in London Tom is a new rookie to the investigative film world and is set to work doing research for Natalie’s project. He uncovers suspicious activities in a laboratory in Java and soon finds himself dispatched off to investigate – and with a minder in tow! They make contact with a young chemist who is concerned about the research work that she is being asked to undertake. When Natalie and Tom touch base with each other, they find that there are various strands to their stories that are linking to each other and to the terrorist group. Certain names in pharmaceutical companies keep cropping up too, alongside studies into Alzheimer’s disease. Now the question is do they continue with the sole purpose of making a documentary or should the authorities be alerted to the very real prospect of a bioterrorist attack?
Action, suspense, intrigue, danger, fear, excitement…..just some of the words to sum up this novel. I believe that Natalie Thompson has appeared in several other novels by the author, but this can be read as a stand-alone book – I haven’t read the others. This novel is so current and the author’s background in investigative documentary films is very evident with the detailed descriptions of both fieldwork and the editorial offices. The devastation of Ebola has been on our television screens for several years now and the Western world is well aware of the havoc that it can wreak. Add to this the recent happenings in the UK with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, this storyline becomes completely plausible and for that reason more frightening.
I do love the fact that the lead character is a woman – but then I would say that, I suppose! Natalie is gutsy, strong, intelligent and driven. At times I was fearful for her when she appeared to be reckless in her actions, but this for me is an indication of the great suspense that Mr Granger conjures with his writing. The complexities of her character develop as she becomes more involved with the medical programmes in Africa and meets the real people who are affected. She is empathetic and finds herself conflicted between the story that she is out to uncover and the other very human stories that she is finds thrown into, including research trials into drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Essentially, she is lying to people who believe that she is there to help and I like the fact that I can feel her grappling with her conscience when recording in an undercover capacity.
The other characters develop nicely through the story too – young Tom who finds himself in dangerous situations that he would never have dreamt of and using his sexuality to win the confidence of a source; Nick the ex-soldier sent to babysit Tom who has useful contacts within various police/ authorities; and Geoff the boss, who is spinning so many plates in his office that it feels at times that he can’t possibly keep everyone happy and produce a great programme. I learnt so much about film production from the great descriptions of the actual filming to the editing and beyond.
The author does cover moral and ethical conflicts that I imagine are a daily occurrence for any documentary maker. In this case the issues are around the findings of the investigations as it becomes apparent just what the terrorists are planning and just how the pharmaceutical companies are linked. Should the team continue filming in order to get a fantastic story? Just when is the right time to inform the authorities what they have discovered? What happens if the authorities in other countries don’t listen or are just too corrupt themselves to act? Then Mr Granger introduces us to the legal implications!
I loved this book from start to finish. The fact that at times my heart was in my mouth for me shows how well it is written – the suspense created through the investigation was great. For an action-packed, exciting, believable investigative read with a twist in the tail, I would definitely recommend “Drugs to Forget” – this gets full marks form me! Now I am off to find the other books from this author. 5 stars.
Amazon: on Kindle & Paperback
Publisher: RedDoor Publishing Ltd (31 May 2018)
About the Author
Martin has been making documentary films for thirty years. In that time he has won more than 100 international film awards. His work has ranged from directing BBC’s Horizon to producing a BAFTA nominated science series for Channel 4.His novels, although fiction, are based upon his experience in the film industry. He lives in Wimbledon with his wife Jacqueline.
Find Martin here: