Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Han Agent

The Han Agent by Amy Rogers
ScienceThrillers: 9/3/17
eBook review copy; 260 pages
ISBN-13: 9781940419152

The Han Agent by Amy Rogers is a so-so medical thriller.

In the 1930's Japanese scientists began experimenting with biological weapons, but the program was forced to end due to WWII and all notes and evidence of the experimentation was hidden away.  Jumping to the present, Japanese-American scientist Amika Nakamura is an ambitious young virologist working at U.C., Berkeley who defies a ban on genetic manipulation of the 1918 influenza virus. She publishes a paper on her work and is subsequently expelled, fired, and banned from working at any U.C. school. She accepts a position with Koga, a pharmaceutical company in Tokyo. Her younger brother Shuu also works for Koga. She travels to the Senkaku Islands, near the southern tip of the Japanese archipelago and quickly Amika and Shuu are entangled in a high-profile geopolitical struggle between Japan and China.

Those of you who follow my reviews know I enjoy thrillers involving viruses, plagues, dystopian scenarios, etc. The Han Agent was seemingly a perfect fit for  my preferred genres. What I never envisioned was being bored and having to force myself to finish a book featuring biological weapons.  After an intriguing opening, the action in the first first half of the book slows down and the hook, the biological weaponization of a virus, is set aside for political posturing.

Now, I can suspend disbelief with the best of them and roll with the action, assuming there is some action, but it is difficult to overcome sheer disdain of the main character.  Amika is arrogant, self-important, overly confident, and annoying as all heck. I rapidly grew tired of her and her whining. Add to this a predictable plot and the lack of true, thrilling action and suspense and it is hard to rally support and enthusiasm for a novel. The quality of the writing is good, however, and the narrative does reach a satisfying conclusion. I'm sure there are other readers who will enjoy this novel more than I did.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of ScienceThrillers.

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