I t has been a very long time since I have read such a wonderful dark corporate conspiracy novel. I recall many years ago discovering Fever by the renound Robin Cook and was particularly taken in by the chase mentality of the book...a lone father, a cancer specialist discovering his daughter has leukemia and his battle against a conspiracy within a large corporation, his race against time. Now if we forward to recent times Scott Sigler publised the brilliant Infected which contained not only a great story (the central character Perry being infected by an alien virus) but made terrific use of horror and dark humour with a splattering of SF. The Genesis Code is an equally "edge of the seat" unputdownable read. Yes I know that lots of reviewers use this idiom but The Genesis Code is a worthy recipient of this accolade. It is a fast paced story, that never lets up, has a great list of both good and bad characters, excellent plot and a very satisfying conclusion. Mark Weston is starting a new job at OneMarket, the premiere worldwide provider of global trading solutions guaranteeing to their clients that there will never be any "downtime" and that computer "gremlins" are a thing of the past (oh right....we believe you!) Mark needs this job because his wife Sheila is in fear of Altzheimers Disease (her father died of the disease) and their finances are non existant. This is the answer to Mark and Sheilas prayers, the only problems seems to be that he will be expected to "sell his soul" to OneMarket in return for all the cash and incentives. The beauty of reading this book is that you know (and probably Mark as well) that it will all go wrong nothing is ever what it seems and no individual is programmed to work 24/7...all work and no play :(
The entrepreneurial head of OneMarket Simon Harris has acquired some cutting edge technology known as "The Genesis Code" an invasive technology which offers the ability to plant information in an employees brain, a truly machiavellian concept and a dangerous tool in the hands of a twisted mind...the inventor Josh Taylor! "The entire population of employees tricked into receiving a chip capable of forcing information into their minds. Downloading technical information specific to their jobs was one thing, but how long would it be before less benign uses came along? Mind control, behavioral adjustments, attitude shifts. If Harris didn't mandate them he was sure Tyler would test them out in his newfound pool of human lab subjects" Mark is a recipient of the genesis code together with a fellow worker and the result, you will not be surprised to know is catastrophic...Will Mark be saved from the evil clutches of Harris and Taylor? Will the lovely Sheila get her man back along with a few badly needed dollars? Will the bad boys get their just rewards?...all is revealed in a riveting, fast and at times bumpy ride...but well worth hanging on for :)
There is however one incident which I puzzle to understand and question if it added value to the story. Mark on his first day meets Toni Hanson, Manager of New Recruits, a rather cold, crisp, bloodless strikingly beautiful lady. At a later stage in the book, and feeling somewhat neglected by Sheila, Mark and Toni have a brief impulsive affair. There is no further mention of this incident, and no one is ever aware that it happened...so why did it occur? and what was its contribution in the overall telling of the story. Apart from this rather strange episode The Genesis Code is more than worthy of 5 stars, an amazing first novel from Lisa von Biela and I look forward to her future publications.