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The Cure by Douglas E. Richards
Cover Artist: Shutterstock
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765374097
Date: 17 September 2013 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

When she was a child, Erin Palmer was too paralyzed by fear to prevent her family from being mercilessly slaughtered by a psychopath. Now she has dedicated her entire life to defending herself against psychopaths and curing psychopathy. At the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson, Erin, a graduate student, is working on her thesis. During her experimentations on inmates, she discovers a cure.

Unfortunately, several highly intelligent, devious men, Hugh Raborn of Asclepius Pharmaceuticals and Steve Fuller of Advanced Science Applications, want the cure. Neither gentleman is who they pretend to be.

Kyle Hansen, a computer geek, joins Erin in a cloak and dagger game as she tries to elude capture and prevent her cure from being used to destroy mankind.

Douglas E. Richards' The Cure is a provocative high tech science fiction thriller that will appeal to fans of Star Trek and Star Wars and other series involving intergalactic communities. Richards pays homage to such films as War of the Worlds and Independence Day. In The Cure, readers are introduced to evil, destructive aliens that have a hive mentality. Everyone works together for the good of the community.

Some of the science fiction technology involving space travel and mind control was too technical and unbelievable for me. I found it quite preposterous. On the other hand, Erin's research into the cure for psychopathy was rather intriguing and provocative. Are psychopaths born psychotic or are they created by their environment? According to Erin's research, it is the combination of eight genes that contribute to a psychopath's aberrant behavior. Personally, I believe these criminals choose to be psychotic.

Erin Palmer is depicted as a superhuman with extraordinary intelligence, strength and beauty. She is an expert at martial arts and marksmanship. She, like the psychopaths she studies, can also be very devious. She is the type of heroine that we can all root for as she eludes evil men. Unfortunately, she doesn't always know who the evil men are. Much to the readers' delight, Erin develops a romantic relationship with a lovable nerd, Kyle Hansen, who built an extremely fast quantum computer using alien intelligence. Together, the two of them are on the run. In my opinion, there is nothing more romantic than an attractive couple fleeing together from danger. Think Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn of The Terminator.

Unfortunately, much of the novel's fast pacing and excitement die half-way through the storyline when the plot turns from psychological thriller to space opera. The chase scenes are replaced with conversational pieces in which the alien technology is discussed. Also, the fact that the planet won't be jeopardized by aliens for many thousands of years destroyed the sense of emergency that I initially felt. Even Erin herself voiced my exact feelings when she said she would be long dead before the invasion. In other words, why should I be concerned or worried about aliens wanting our natural resources? The human race will probably destroy itself before the aliens do.

Douglas E. Richards' The Cure stimulated my intellect in regards to psychotics—-specifically how they are created and how society should deal with them. Are they born without a conscience? If so, should we really execute them? If a vaccine for psychopathy is found, should we administer it to everyone? Are we all psychotic to a certain extent? Would removing the genes that cause psychopathy remove mankind's desires for excellence and ambition? Without evilness, would we truly know and appreciate righteousness? This unique, interesting novel asks a lot of questions about us as human beings.

Some readers of The Cure may find the science fiction aspects of the plot rather preposterous, far-fetched or unrealistic. However, there is an entire generations of young people who may find them within the realms of possibility.

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