XC 97: The Quest for the Cure, by Mark Dossey. Book-broker Publishers. 360 pages. Trade paperback $15.00.
The debut novel has three interrelated plots. First of all, a start-up company based in Newark, New Jersey has found a cure for cancer and needs to find a partner (financial backer) as soon as possible to support manufacture and marketing. Of course, it will need FDA approval and any suitor will need to verify the test results. A trade conference in Atlantic City provides the opportunity to break the good news to the medical industry, and one impressive Swiss company is rushing to make an offer that can’t be refused.
A second story line has to do with the murder of the company’s founding leader. Integra’s CEO, Victor Allagara, is found shot in his home soon after consecutive visits from two women. One of these, it turns out is his faithful and loving secretary Jennifer. Before Jennifer showed up, young and sensuous Ally Kendall, Integra’s new marketing director, had been there. They are two of several suspects being investigated by the Newark police. Any scandal associated with the firm might hamper its ability to find the deep pockets that it needs.
The third piece of action follows the galloping romance between Ally and the gorgeous hunk who heads the Swiss company. This is a glamorous and exciting romp, though it seems a bit superficial, based almost exclusively on physical attraction. The instant lovers’ feelings for one another are tinged by the leverage Stephan has regarding the future health of Integra. Their frenzied affair takes us to splendid vistas, lavish homes and resorts, and plenty of self indulgence.
Mr. Dossey keeps us moving back and forth through these three centers of interest. Ally is the linchpin character: a principal actor in representing Integra to the medical community and to possible investors, the main suspect in the murder mystery (though readers know that she is innocent), and the love interest of a successful and handsome young businessman.
In spite of her centrality, there are plenty of scenes without her. Many of these focus on the two policemen assigned to the case as they chase down clues, await DNA evidence, interview persons of interest, and discuss their next moves. The author handles the tension of the investigation and the interplay of the detective team members quite ably. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 24, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the February 25 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Mark Dossey