Fireflies & Laserbeams

Would you believe Stephenie Meyer wrote a Thriller, and it’s Really Good?

Monday July 12, 2021 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | book review | Leave Comments

The Chemist is not your daughter's Stephenie Meyer. I'm well aware of how some people have issues with her writing, and the nature of some of the sequences in Twilight, but this is not in the same genre. It is so far removed from Twilight as to be unrecognizable. If you go into this thinking it will be another cozy story for girls, you will be shocked and frankly disappointed if you only read those types of books.

I'll admit right up front that I actually like Stephenie Meyer. I've read the Twilight books, even Life and Death, which I reviewed back in 2015. I have only skipped one, Midnight Sun, which is simply the retelling of Twilight from Edward's POV. I enjoyed The Host, as her entry into SF. But I can say definitively that I wasn't expecting The Chemist. I for one have always enjoyed her style. She is big on emotional impact and good storytelling and that always trumps prose.

I've had this book in my possession for years, but finally got around to buying the audiobook version, and I have to say that from the word go she had my attention. The protagonist is a former Interrogator for a clandestine government organization. Her former employer has tried five times to kill her and so she is justifiably paranoid. The author makes us believe how desperate the main character is from the very beginning, but even though a lot of it is technical she doesn't bore us with it. She is extremely capable and brilliant, a very strong female who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. People underestimate just how good she is at what she does. Her rep in the company before her downfall, was as the the very best interrogator in the business. She never failed to get the information extracted. A 100% success rate in a line of work that usually falls well short of that.

When her employer finally reaches out to her with an olive branch to help them stop a ruthless terrorist, it appears that things may have changed. She would love to have a life again. She sleeps in the tub with a gas mask on every night and can't trust anyone. She is incredibly lonely, but does not give in to it. She skeptically agrees to meet, but does so on her terms and moves forward with plans to follow through.

Things go sideways, as she anticipated, but the plot unravels in a way that keeps you on the edge of you seat. Just enough twists to keep it interesting, and it moves fast.

There are touches of romance in here, but I think that is real life, and adds spice to any story. I have to say that the love interest is not exactly what I expected but it is a satisfying conclusion and she closes with an interesting denouement.

This is firmly positioned in the Thriller category. It's true to that form and is an exciting and easy read. I loved it! Good for you, Stephenie! The writing is tight and and the prose well done. I highly recommend it!

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