Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Words were dangerous. Because, once spoken, they could never truly be taken back.”
Jeeeez!! What an absolute whirlwind of an experience! I never knew I needed a book about biotechnology in my life, but this has just blown my mind. A book filled with clever twists, dark conversations, action-packed scenes and one repulsive billionaire you really wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of… I am absolutely thrilled to be opening this blog blitz today – make sure you check out all these other awesome book blogger reviews over the next few days!
How do you stop a biotech billionaire armed with a virus, a vaccine and a vendetta?
London-based financial journalist Spencer Beck is obsessed with billionaire biotech prodigy, Adam Reid, orphaned in his mid-teens when his parents died in a tragic murder-suicide in New York City.
A shadowy informant with MI5 connections promises Beck unfettered access to the mysterious Reid and introduces him to Daniel Flanagan, a retired Big Apple detective who investigated the deaths of Adam’s mother and father.
Spencer’s initial scepticism, fed by the suspicions of the former police officer, turns to excitement when Reid reveals the truth about himself and his altruistic ambitions to protect society from a deadly virus with a powerful vaccine he’s developed.
But when Beck’s entire world starts to implode, he discovers Reid harbours a vendetta that, left unchecked, threatens not only his survival but that of an entire species.
Ooh, a bit of humour to start the story – bonus points in the first paragraph are rare, but here we are! I instantly loved the author’s tone of voice and I just knew I’d love the character we’re following here. His wit and way with words was something I really enjoyed and the consistency of this was very impressive. It doesn’t take us long to really get to know who this character, Spencer Beck, is, what he does for a living and exactly what he thinks about life – the author has really set the scene well and the talent we experience from the first few pages is utterly breathtaking. Beck soon receives an unexpected phone call that would change so much for him, and already, I was so curious about what this meant. MI5? Adam Reid? Project Onesius? What did all these things have in common? There is a sense of mystery here which I really loved, and I couldn’t wait to learn more!
It seemed Adam Reid had quite the life; a life of power and riches, and was a very clever guy. It was interesting learning more about this wanted character through Spencer and Sophie’s conversations. Detail is fabulous and we learn so much more about all the main characters here, which sets us up nicely for what’s to come. I really enjoyed hearing the countless conversations between characters, and dialogue in particular has been written flawlessly. The characters seem to be having a real human conversation, which can be difficult to pull off when writing, so if you want to know how to do this well, read this book! I feel this is definitely one of the author’s strong points. However, things get a little complicated quite quickly and I did have to reread a few parts again to try and get my head around them – if you love something you can really get your teeth into, I can recommend this one straight away!
Spencer soon seems to be the victim of some strange goings on, and regular phone calls direct him to take certain actions and feed him intriguing information. This was written really well – it builds perfect suspense while getting the reader to ask questions about the bigger picture. We’re forced to think of all the weird situations this character has been in recently – strange phone calls, a scratched car which was also moved without his knowledge, a night in a cell after an unfortunate drunken run in with the police. What did all these things mean? This part of the story was excellent, and really portrays such a perfectly planned, seriously addictive thriller novel. What more would Spencer have to endure?! The author seems to involve the reader in every scene, almost like we have our own insight into Spencer’s mind. I hoped this would continue! Questions immediately started popping up in my mind, and I needed to find out more about just why Spencer seemed to be the ‘chosen one’.
“Could I really have been targeted or was I the victim of a bizarre set of circumstances?”
One character I really liked was Flanagan – even though he wasn’t too much of a talker at times, I felt like his personality spoke for itself. The attention to detail from the author for this character is particular was great, and I knew he’d be a good character to follow throughout the book. When he did have something to say, the information he held about Adam Reid sparked my curiosity further and it painted the perfect picture of a significant murder scene. I loved how the details are quite repulsive in parts and make us question the clues we’re given – I put my inner detective hat on to try and work things out before Spencer did! I just knew that the more we learned the more I’d really get invested in the life of Adam Reid and just what he was capable of. What more was there to learn?
There was one part of the book that really pulled me in at this point in the story, which was a few pages from the perspective of Adam nine years previously. This complements Flanagan’s information and version of events and is enough to make any reader invested in the story! I must applaud the author for just how each tiny bit of information fits together and just how much Adam and what he gets up to is discussed. Everything is so thorough and it was quite unlike anything I’ve read! Even though Spencer and Flanagan’s discussions go on for quite a while, I did find myself so involved in their conversation, and it just made me even more curious about how close they were to the truth. How all this was covered by the author was simply on another level and I really admired his approach to each topic very much. It’s clear this author is very talented, with character and plot creation being at the forefront of his strengths!
Spencer and Flanagan made quite the team, and I loved how they bounce ideas and theories off each other, and always seem to work together well. Each discovery about Adam was so captivating to read about, and I especially found the possibility of Adam being ‘created’ so mind-blowing. The topic of cloning was truly fascinating and I found this to fit into the story really well, and it’d be interesting to see how this is approached further in the book. With a trip to New York on the cards for Spencer, I felt like this would be a huge step up for the progress of the story, and I knew his time here would be important to piece together this puzzle and to meet the person who he’d been obsessed with for some time. I could sense Spencer’s fear and worry about the situation he was putting himself into here, and it really built up my excitement further.
I was so glad we revisited Adam’s story previously once again – I found these little snippets of text give the reader a better insight into the plot nine years into the future, and the way these scenes are written give us a greater understanding of his biotech experiments. I loved the science of it all and it genuinely such a fascinating route to go down in this story. It was also clever how the reader begins to know much more about Adam’s life than Spencer does! It was strange – after we hear what Adam is capable of, I found myself feeling a bit sorry for him and for what he experiences in his life, which was a very weird feeling indeed! Everything Adam experiences ranges from the sad to the downright horrifying, and reading this was such an unforgettable experience. The vocabulary was so vivid and it even made me feel a little nervous for what came next in the story. Amazing effort from the author which will be difficult to leave my mind!
“His blunt fingers closed on the book in his hand and he crushed it. He broke its spine and let the pages spill like the petals of a spent flower on the floor.”
The suspense we feel all the way through the middle of the book is really something else. After a calmer pace at the beginning of the book, it was definitely building, and I genuinely became a little nervous to find out what Spencer experiences next. Adam was certainly someone I wouldn’t want to mess with! He always seemed to be one step ahead, and I thought Spencer would have to watch his step going forward. As Spencer and Adam finally meet, it was a weird feeling for me as a reader, almost as if I needed to warn Spencer in some way. Their conversations and actions put so much into perspective here, each sentence becoming more captivating than the last. With everything we learn here, I had the feeling we were being set up for quite the explosive ending, and with each page that went by, I could sense the build up to something big. Just what would Spencer experience next?
Shocking information about Adam is revealed that made my jaw drop! I couldn’t fault this part of the story in the slightest, and I’m still buzzing about it now! As I predicted before, the topic of cloning sure packed a punch here, and the delivery from the author was truly remarkable. I feel like I’m trying so hard to not give too much away here, but I think when you read it, you’ll know what I mean and feel the exact same as I did! Each piece of information we’re given about Adam made me think so much further about what could potentially be possible in the future, and each page was incredibly addictive to read. This unexpected truth was one of the many highlights of this book, and was it even possible for us to change our minds about Adam? Prepare yourself for the unexpected here – you’ll not be disappointed!
The murder of Adam’s father is revisited and we begin to learn more about the killer’s motives. Everything began to effortlessly slot into place and I found that a lot of my initial views were changing all of a sudden. I loved how everything just seemed to click in my mind and I admired just how much planning and attention to detail must have gone into the story’s plot. With time, we also learn that Adam and Spencer are more alike that we initially think, and that they also have things in common. My eyes were glued to the pages at this point in the book, and each paragraph seemed to reveal more information that I just couldn’t get enough of! With the police on his back and yet more problems to solve, the ending of the book was turning into quite the stressful journey for Spencer. What would happen when he left New York and travelled back to the UK?
Danger escalates when we least expect it and Spencer has to think outside of the box to ensure he stays safe. Again, my views of characters changed as quickly as they had done previously, and even though my thoughts were back and forth so much, I don’t think the book would have made as much of an impact if things were different! Adam is such an unpredictable character, and throughout the ending of the story, we’re forced to fear and loathe him – I also think he’s one of my favourite characters I’ve met in a book recently! Suspense, terror and uncertainty is in the air here, and I had no idea how the book would end. Would Spencer ever get the story he needed out there? Or would he be brutally murdered and forgotten? I just knew the author would not disappoint, and would create a finale that would keep readers thinking for a long time after reading!
“Death is so final but extinction is the end, don’t you think?”
The ending of the story was just perfect. The author has pulled out all the stops to shock the reader, and I for one was completely gobsmacked about what Spencer has to go through! My emotions were all over the place, and because of how much the author has forced readers to feel attached to certain characters, it made the final scenes even more effective. I don’t quite now how I feel right now! Tension is built through immense action scenes, life hangs in the balance and even my pulse started racing as we neared those final few pages. Absolutely incredible! I won’t hesitate to give this book the five stars that it deserves, even if that final page had me a little too desperate for another book! We’ll have to wait and see…
This book went beyond any expectation I had and completely knocked me off balance! The synopsis intrigued me straight away, but the actual plot was quite a surreal experience. Characters are so memorable, some even make you think twice at times, and the twists later on in the book will leave you completely speechless, guaranteed! This author is definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on in future, and if you love a book you can really get your teeth into over a day or two, this one has to be on your TBR list. Such a gripping book, no doubt about it! I’ll definitely be recommending.
A huge thanks to the author, Mark Brumby, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of the book and my place on the blog tour! You can pre-order your own copy of Always Adam now on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback on November 30th. Make sure you’re following the author over on Twitter for more updates!