"The Catalyst" by Boyd Morrison
Reviewed by David Marshall James
This hot-plotted, slick-paced thriller will get the reader rooting for the "good guys" and hoping hard that the bad guys really get theirs.
Kevin Hamilton-- a struggling, chemistry graduate student at a Houston university-- is unwittingly swept up in corporate espionage by the professor for whom he once worked, but who fired him for allegedly destroying valuable lab equipment during a superconductivity experiment that went awry.
However, Kevin's dismissal was merely a subterfuge , smokescreening the potentially multibillion-dollar discovery (purely accidental, of course) of a process to create gem-quality diamonds for industrial use.
Never mind the jewelry business. The diamond cartel would cry, "Synthetic-- not mined!"
The scheming, avaricious prof hooks up with a successful Houston businessman with Faustian aspirations of zooming up the Forbes list of zillionaires.
Clayton Tarnwell wants to be bigger than big, and he envisions this technology as the means to his end, for which he will go to any ends to achieve, calling in all manner of henchmen.
The professor attempts to cheat Tarnwell and vice-versa, upon the exchange of $10 million for the blueprint to the Adamas process, and the henchmen close in on the unscrupulous academic.
Yet the ever-so-thoughtful prof has left a key to his plan in the unknowing hands of Kevin Hamilton.
Therefore, Kevin must determine what's going on, then he's got to hit the road for all it's worth, attempting to formulate a plan for exoneration before he's exterminated.
At least he's not going it alone. His med-student friend, whom he would like to become much more, is soon swirled up in the Adamas maelstrom.
Ah, but what's a thriller without some of , mmm, those sorts of thrills?
This early Boyd Morrison novel (he has since published three others, with another due in August), originally titled "The Adamas Blueprint," has been updated for this first print version, in paperback, including a teaser for the author's most recent book, "The Vault."
Even as an early effort, "The Catalyst" never lacks for excitement, all-in-all a book that you'll polish off in hardly no time.
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