Gargoyles

Gargoyles

4.3 27
by Alan Nayes
     
 

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In the tradition of Robin Cook and Richard Preston, Alan Nayes has written an absorbing, terrifying novel about what happens when human beings have the ability to save their own lives – but only by changing the face of humanity.

Brilliant pre-med student Amoreena Daniels needs money. Desperately. Her mother is dying of cancer and her medical insurance has

Overview

In the tradition of Robin Cook and Richard Preston, Alan Nayes has written an absorbing, terrifying novel about what happens when human beings have the ability to save their own lives – but only by changing the face of humanity.

Brilliant pre-med student Amoreena Daniels needs money. Desperately. Her mother is dying of cancer and her medical insurance has run out. When a seemingly perfect women's clinic offers Amoreena a generous payment for service as a surrogate mother, Amoreena thinks her prayers have been answered. But then — much too early — her baby begins to move.

The strange dreams, another surrogate's mysterious death, and a drug-addicted former medical intern confirm Amoreena's worst suspicions: there is something terribly wrong with her pregnancy. Amoreena embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind the endless battery of genetic tests, sonograms, and frightened patients, only to discover that she has unwittingly become a pawn in a high-stakes game of biomedical experimentation.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
...a gripping , thought-provoking tale of mounting distrust, betrayal, brutality, and greed....
Publishers Weekly
Navigating the turbulent waters of genetic manipulation, this first novel tells a grisly what-if tale, speculating about the possible outcome of human gene research gone bad. Amoreena Daniels, a young Julia Roberts look-alike, is a bright but impoverished premed student who chooses to become a surrogate mother in order to pay for her uninsured mother's cancer treatment. She believes she is gestating a child for private adoption, but a series of suspicious incidents at the clinic lead her to wonder whether something different is in the works. The other surrogate mothers seem to be mostly illegal aliens, and some of them are badly frightened. Then a former medical intern with a drug problem gets in touch with her and tries to convince her that the clinic is fronting a scheme to produce subhuman clones for organ harvesting and scientific experimentation. Amoreena refuses to believe him, but a disk he sends her after he mysteriously disappears proves he is right. Unwittingly, she has allowed her body to be used as an incubator for "drones," mostly human but also part pig and part baboon. The novel culminates in a long episode set in Guatemala, where Amoreena is taken against her will to give birth. Nayes doesn't indulge in gory detail, focusing instead on the clinic intrigue and a Guatemala subplot involving two young crusaders out to foil the clinic's plans. The frisson the novel supplies is meager when weighed against the wordy buildup, but those who prefer their thrills mild may be satisfied. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Slickly suspenseful debut medical thriller finds nasty variations of Rosemary's Baby romping about the heavily guarded interiors of a global biotechnology firm. Amoreena Daniels, named by her mother Geneva after the heroine of an early Elton John song, is a poor, proud, brilliant, and beautiful pre-med student working hard to qualify for a scholarship when she learns that cancer-ridden Geneva used the money for her medical insurance to help pay for Amoreena's education. Geneva is about to be tossed out of her hospital bed when, quicker than you can say too-good-to-be-true, Amoreena is offered $50,000 by the innocuously named Women's Clinic to be a surrogate parent. While Amoreena is getting artificially inseminated, a poor, proud, uneducated Guatemalan girl named Gabriella is trying to escape from the horrible people in a horrible high-tech lab hidden in the jungle. These people are most interested in the horrible thing that is growing too fast and too painfully in her womb and, a few pages later, in Amoreena's. The staff of the Women's Clinic tell Amoreena that the unsettlingly rapid movements she feels are nothing to worry about, but with her background in medicine and the strange warnings she's getting from poor women she doesn't know, she begins to worry. When a medical intern who tries to warn her winds up dead, Amoreena finds herself being hounded by all kinds of weird characters bent on stopping her from finding out that something not quite human is forming inside her. Nayes, himself an M.D., makes his blindly trusting female characters both victims and villains in this well-executed if predictable tale of medical research run amok. Some loose ends are left dangling, but the mixof breezy science and lab-smock sadism makes for breathless page-turning.
From the Publisher
"Gargoyles is a heart-stopping page turner that kept me on the edge of my seat. Alan Nayes combines his expertise and slick writing to brilliantly bring to life the all-too-real possibilities of genetic engineering in the wrong hands. Gargoyles is a frighteningly good read!"-April Christofferson, author of Buffalo Medicine

"A splendid debut. A timely tale, steadily accelerating suspense . . . and a warning."—Charles Wilson, USA Today best-selling author of Deep Sleep and Extinct on Gargoyles

"The idea behind this story is first rate. Dr. Nayes shows the dark side of genetic engineering run amok, in a nightmarish biotech scenario. . . . Gargoyles is an audacious beginning for a bold new writer of medical thrillers."—David M. Shobin, New York Times bestselling author of The Provider

"Slickly suspenseful . . . The mix of breezy science and lab-smock sadism makes for breathless page-turning."—Kirkus Reviews on Gargoyles

"[A] gripping, thought-provoking tale of mounting distrust, betrayal, brutality, and greed."—Booklist on Gargoyles

bestselling author of Buffalo Medicine - April Christofferson
A heart-stopping page turner...brilliantly brings to life the all-too-real possibilities of genetic engineering in the wrong hands....A frighteningly good read!
USA Today bestselling author of Deep Sleep and Extinct - Charles Wilson
A splendid debut. A timely tale, steadily accelerating suspense . . . and a warning.
New York Times bestselling author of The Provider - David M. Shobin
First rate. An audacious beginning for a bold new writer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765300102
Publisher:
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
08/03/2001
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.31(d)

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Somewhere near Itzimte Ruins, Guatemala, rainy season

She turned her first trick four months shy of her thirteenth birthday. Patricio had been a small man, only a boy really, being just two years older than she. His father had been a teniente in the security police that patrolled Mexico City, and he'd paid sixty pesos for Gabriella's services. Gabriella wasn't her real name then, but it was the name she'd used while plying her trade, and it was how she was currently registered at Las Canas.

Now, three years later, the teenage girl with the truculent almond eyes sat huddled under a gnarled tree limb, seeking refuge from the tropical shower. Her skin glistened moist from sweat and precipitation, and she could smell her own fear above the pungent odor of the earth.

Gabriella stroked one have across her gravid abdomen, then quickly climbed from the security and cover of the lush vegetation to resume her flight alone the muddy carretera that would eventually lead her to San Andres. Nightfall was fast approaching. She pressed onward, prodding herself another half kilometer, though her feet and thighs cried out for rest. Surrounded by miles of unfettered jungle that comprised the Guatemalan lowland rain forests, she longed for a shortcut. There was none. And carved out of this most intimidating habitat in all of Central America had been Las Canas.

Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump. Los helicoperos. The choppers.

"Mi bebé!" My baby. Gabriella dashed back under the gloomy cover of the rain-forest canopy. She would rather risk an encounter with el tigre or even Desmodus rotundus, the loathsome bloodsucking vampire bat.

Wump. Wump. Wump. Anything but the choppers. She could never return to Las Canas. Never.

Gabriella clutched desperately at her stomach. It heaved with each laborious breath. She couldn't maintain this frenetic pace, it was impossible. She forced herself to think through the tears, through the pain. She might still stand a chance if she could thwart their initial assault.

Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump.

"Que mierda,"Gabriella cried out.

Her hands protected her eyes as she stumbled farther through the thick underbrush. Thorns ripped at her skin, and vines threatened to ensnare her ankles as if they possessed wills of their own.

She tripped, stumbling forward. Terror gripped her like a giant anaconda. Her breaths catapulted from her convulsing chest in short gasps.

Oh Dios, por favor, she prayed. Please, God. If she could just make it to the Itzimté Ruins before dark.

High above her head, the canopy of epiphytes, vines, and towering ferns gyrated into a living tempest. The powerful downdraft from the Sikorsky's blades created a whirlwind of flying debris.

Gabriella threw herself on the forest floor, cowering under the onslaught of tangled vegetation.

Wump. Wump. Wump. Wump.

"No!" she cried. "No!"

With nothing to cling to but remnants of past dreams, Gabriella began to pray. She prayed for herself. She prayed for Las Canas. But mostly she prayed for the bebés.

The men from the platación de azúcan were coming.

Meet the Author

Alan Nayes was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. After attending medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, he moved to Southern California where he divides his time and energies between medicine and writing. The author of five screenplays and the critically-acclaimed biomedical thriller, Gargoyles, he holds a U.S. Patent and trademark.

An avid outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast, he is one of only a few individuals to ever swim across Wisconsin's chilly Lake Winnebago. When not working on his next project, he enjoys relaxing and fishing at the family vacation home in Wisconsin.

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Gargoyles 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
AVoraciousReadr More than 1 year ago
Amoreena Daniels is a top-of-the-class pre-med student and she¿s helping her mother fight a losing battle with cancer. On top of everything else her mother lets her health insurance lapse and now she¿s not covered for any of the expensive treatment for her cancer. What is a daughter to do? Well, Amoreena finds out about a surrogacy program and, after much thinking, signs a contract. Then finds out things aren¿t all what they seem to be. This book was an easy read for me. It flowed smoothly, the characters were well-fleshed and the story progressed in a timely manner without excess description. I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to know what the heck was going on, so I was compelled to keep turning the pages. Alan Nayes dropped breadcrumbs to the mystery in well-timed proportions. In other words, before I got too frustrated in the unraveling and peeked ahead. A fine balancing act! The only problem I had was that Amoreena was an excellent pre-med student and she kept ignoring not only factual information about pregnancy in general, but her own gut feelings as well. I kept wanting to smack her upside the head, but it was only an occasional urge, so I was able, for the most part, to ignore it. All-in-all a most excellent read! I definitely look forward to reading more books by Alan Nayes.
Kande1 More than 1 year ago
Great sci fi book!...I could not put it down! Written so that you actually believe it could happen! Great book!
daisy72TS More than 1 year ago
This book is fast paced, you won't want to put it down! Many twists and turns to keep you guessing. Not the normal "cookie cutter" writer. It's engaging as well as makes you wonder what if....
Serenrhapsody More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful. A good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fast paced thriller with topical and ethical dimensions. The book entertained while raising the subject of exploitation of women of the 3rd world, who commands medical care and at what cost. Great read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Amoreena Daniels is a brilliant pre-med student needing a scholarship to attend med school so she works extraordinarily hard towards that goal. However, her idyllic world collapses when she learns her beloved mother Geneva suffers from cancer. Worse, Geneva used her small available cash to pay for Amoreena's education, leaving her without health insurance and little hope for the high cost treatment that might save her life.

However, to the rescue is Meechum Corporation¿s Women¿s Clinic who pays Amoreena fifty grand to serve as a surrogate mother. Soon her saviors come under suspicion for illegal medical practices by the once naive Amoreena. Whatever is inside her womb is growing at a humanly impossible rate and feels like it is ripping her up. When she complains, the clinic staff insists nothing is wrong and this is normal. Amoreena rejects the explanations even as she begins to receive weird warnings from female strangers. She vows to learn the truth not yet knowing how dangerous that endeavor is.

GARGOYLES is a well-written medical research thriller that, though it adds nothing new to the genre, will excite readers. The story line is loaded with action as even a person with Amoreena¿s background is caught up in the questionable activities of Meechum, leaving the audience to wonder about the average individual who gives God-like trust to the profession. There will be no naysayers to Alan Nayes¿ strong look at the ethics of modern day genetics claiming the betterment of humanity justifies the means.

Harriet Klausner

Butterfly828 More than 1 year ago
White knuckle, edge of your seat, OMG, what will happen next kind of book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a fast read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read Did not want to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decent medical thriller that is pretty darn belivable. Story has a good pace to it and decent characters and lots of action. If you enjoy Robin Cook, then this book is right up your alley. Pretty good way to spend an afternoon in the sun and can not wait for the next installment.
Jodi Clanton More than 1 year ago
The book has a interesting storyline and is fairly well written; however somethings are extremely drawn out. There is quite a lot of details put into things that are irrelevant to the story, a lot of "filler". I would recommend it to anyone who has time for 800+ pages.
SANDYSZ More than 1 year ago
A little to much discription at the beginning, but that was only a few pages, i would highly recommend it to anyone who likes medical thrillers, or just plain thrillers ,so i gave it 5 stars
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Shades of Robin Cook (with a soupcon of Michael Crichton). The first third or so of Gargoyles lays the groundwork for a formulaic thrill ride and deserves no more than three stars. Then, however, it takes off and earns the four stars you see given as it turns into a sleepless night inducing page-turner. There are a few nagging loose ends, particularly a couple toward the end -- you will know them when you read them -- that reduce the tension somewhat. The formulaic element both in plot and characterization keeps it from the five star level. Yet the fundamental questions it raises regarding questionable applications of medical research for profit are worth pondering.
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