4.2 7
by J. E. Fishman

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A New Species of Suspense

Tens of thousands of monkeys and apes suffer in animal testing labs. If just one of them could speak, what might it say and whose interests would it threaten?

Researcher Liane Vinson thinks she can handle her promotion to the primate lab at Pentalon, the world's biggest and most secretive animal testing facility. Going along to get

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A New Species of Suspense

Tens of thousands of monkeys and apes suffer in animal testing labs. If just one of them could speak, what might it say and whose interests would it threaten?

Researcher Liane Vinson thinks she can handle her promotion to the primate lab at Pentalon, the world's biggest and most secretive animal testing facility. Going along to get along, she'll ignore both the vitriol of animal rights protestors outside the front gates and the cold calculus that her bosses use to distance themselves from their subjects behind closed doors.

But when Liane discovers that one of her favorite apes, a young bonobo called Bea, has shockingly developed the ability to speak, all her doubts awaken--doubts about right and wrong, about following the rules, and about sacrificing individuals to the supposedly greater good.

She'd spare the unique being the knife if she could, but only Axel Flickinger, Pentalon's cold-hearted CEO, holds the power of life and death within the closely monitored laboratory. If there's any chance of rescuing Bea, Liane will need to involve her neighbor, Mickey Ferrone, a rough-hewn veterinarian with his own grievances.

Soon, at risk of life and limb, Liana and Mickey must challenge forces almost beyond their comprehension: a malevolent corporation, a venal federal government, and animal rights movement that's lost its way--and all of our assumptions about man's primacy in nature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Liane Vinson, the heroine of Fishman's appealing debut thriller, works at Pentalon, the world's largest animal testing lab, in Farmingdale, Long Island. Recently promoted to the primate lab, Liane one day discovers that a pair of twin bonobos in her charge can speak, as in speak like humans, which makes them highly valuable to a number of individuals who want them for their own agendas. After the male monkey, Isaac, undergoes surgery that Liane considers abuse, she steals the female, Bea, and goes on the run. In pursuit are the animal rights activists of FAULT (Folks Against Unnecessary Lab Testing); Pentalon security director Vlad Gretch; Pentalon CEO Alex Flickinger; and several shadowy agents of the U.S. government. Liane's love interest, veterinarian Mickey Ferrone, lends support. What the duo lack in evasion and fighting experience, they make up with sheer determination, dumb luck, and the burning desire to save the bonobos. Those with an interest in animal rights will be particularly enthralled, especially with the endearing Bea. (Sept.)
Library Journal
When primate researcher Liane Vinson discovers that one of the subjects at a secretive animal lab, a bonobo named Bea, can speak, she decides after a crisis of conscience to abduct Bea and (eventually) return the ape to Africa. In this debut novel, Fishman questions the ethics of human use of animals but is unable to explore these issues in much depth because the novel's fast pacing doesn't allow enough space for thoughtful discourse on these topics. Though the main character has sufficient internal and external conflict to move the narrative quickly, most of the supporting characters, and especially the villain, are one-dimensional. However, Fishman's excellent imagery and pacing redeems the novel. A former Doubleday editor, he has also been involved with several nature conservancies, which is apparent in his obvious sympathy for Liane's predicament. VERDICT This is a strong bet for thriller fans who aren't concerned about the scientific plausibility of the novel's premise. [Verbitrage is a writers' self-publishing consortium; purchasers of the print book will be eligible for a free ebook. For another novel that explores the animal rights issue, see Neil Abramson's Unsaid.—Ed.]—Rebecca M. Marrall, Western Washington Univ. Libs., Bellingham
Kirkus Reviews
In Fishman's eco-thriller, a voluble primate threatens to bring down the animal-testing industry.

Liane Vinson has made her peace with working at the fabulously rich and sinister animal-testing corporation called Pentalon. Then one of her charges in the primate lab, a bonobo--that's the chimpanzee subspecies famous for preferring love to war--named Bea utters what sound like actual, if indistinct, words, like "bowling-go," "en-decko" and even "Liane." Depending on where the reader falls regarding the novel's overwrought philosophical dialogues on the nature of sentience, a talking chimp could seem like either a novelty act or the most profound challenge to human supremacy and self-regard ever; to Pentalon's fantastically cruel CEO Axel Flickinger and his murderous security chief Vlad Gretch, Bea is the kind of animal-rights mascot that could tank the whole company. To save her from a laryngectomy, Liane busts Bea out of the lab and takes her on the lam, assisted by Mick, a mensch of a veterinarian. Pursued by Vlad as well as the ruthless, machine-gun-toting secret operatives of the Department of Agriculture, they turn to Liane's old flame Corey, an eco-fanatic whose rather sensible plan--put Bea on TV as an animal-rights mascot--Liane rejects as too tawdry an exploitation of her simian innocence. Readers who would rather not get involved with a talky, bitey and none-too-housebroken ape will feel a bit bemused by the multiparty war to take custody of Bea. Fortunately, the author turns the scrimmage into good, boisterous fun. Fishman is a deft, fluent writer who's great at turning out intricate action scenes, and he gives us appealing characters--even the chimp grows on you--to boot. Subplots about Liane's dying mom and the anguished Congolese family who started all the trouble add pathos and exoticism to the mix.

A hokey but entertaining thriller that's more fun than a barrel of overgrown monkeys.

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Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Bob Sipchen
'J.E. Fishman has written a provocative, pedal-to-the-metal thriller with hairpin plot twists and complex characters grappling with tough questions about our species' place in the increasingly unbalanced natural order. It's a smart book. Just as important, it brims with what some Africans might call bolingo.'' --(Bob Sipchen, Editor-in-Chief of Sierra magazine and winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
John Hubner
'A great thriller has to be intelligent - your head must race to keep pace with your terrified heart. A great thriller must take you deep into an exotic locale you knew nothing of, and turn you into an expert on the landscape. Primacy is a great thriller.'' --(John Hubner, author of Somebody Else's Children and Monkey on a Stick)
Richard Cox
'Primacy propels the reader across continents, oceans, and into the human heart on an electrifying search for answers to life's most fundamental questions.'' --(Richard Cox, author of The God Particle and Rift)
Sean Beaudoin
'A meditation on the institutional cruelty of animal testing that lurks within the bones of a stirring thriller, Primacy deftly juggles serious themes while taking readers on a daring ride into the heart of darkness. Hang onto the rollbar!'' --(Sean Beaudoin, author of You Killed Wesley Payne)
Paul Clayton
'Primacy earns J.E. Fishman entry into the ranks of established thriller-writers. Primacy mines the philosophical and comes up with a gem in the same vein as The Day of the Dolphin. Although it was written to entertain, and does so admirably, it also calls us to quiet contemplation of our concept of, and relationship with, the 'lesser beings' known as animals that share our world.'' --(Paul Clayton, author of Calling Crow and White Seed)
Brad Listi
'J.E. Fishman's writing is compelling and intelligent and loaded with all of the things that keep a reader in his seat - visceral action, razor-sharp dialog and meaningful stakes.'' --(Brad Listi, author of Attention. Deficit. Disorder and founder of The Nervous Breakdown)
Shya Scanlon
'The brilliant part about Primacy isn't how fast-paced or quick-witted or tightly plotted it is--though all that kept me turning the pages--but how, beneath all the ape fur, beats a real human heart. You'll read J.E. Fishman for the action, but you'll remember him for the soul.'' --(Shya Scanlon, author of Forecast)
Greg Olear
'This book should come with a medical warning. I nearly burned my fingers turning the pages. And it'll almost break your heart.'' --(Greg Olear, author of Totally Killer)

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Primacy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
autumnbluesreviews More than 1 year ago
In PRIMACY the main character Liane Vinson seems like a regular gal getting on with life although not happy with what she does, she has convinced herself it is work and she could be worse off. Especially now with her new job promotion within Pentalon, a secretive animal testing and research facility. Liane had been working with rabbits, mice and rats but her new job has left her with feeling of doubt about her involvment in her new routine, when she finds herself working with a rare species of apes called bonobos. Liane begins to question the experiments being done to the primates, especially when two of the primates begin to show signs of speech. After deciding that saving the bonobos is more precious than her employment, Liane takes a huge risk and soon she is on the run through the streets of New York City. But not just from Alex Flickinger, Pentalon's CEO and his cold blooded sidekick Vlad Gretch, but also from Henley Pulsipher an undercover agent from the United States Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile in Africa near Congo Dikembe Kasa is having second thoughts about his recent poaching since his wife contacted Hemorrhagic Fever and died. Afraid he has been cursed he is on a mission to get back the konobos he had caught in the bush and sold off. Back in New York with help from her neighbor, now turned close friend Micky Ferrone, Liane fights her way through New York City as she learns who she can and cannot trust, while falling in love along the way. With a wide variety of interesting characters, Primacy does not disappoint in the engaging category. Catching my interest from the start I was lead on a journey that in no way left me hanging in the end. At first I thought Fishman was a little off when it came to Liane's character, as she seemed kind of crazed and having no solid plan as to where she was going or what she was going to do with her newly acquired stolen property. However Fishman slowly weaves in a plan and surprises along the way, I could not have guessed beforehand. I found Primacy to contain a quick pace that kept me guessing with many intense moments right to the very end.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"Pri­macy" by J.E. Fish­man is a fic­tional book which cov­ers a lot of ground, both geo­graph­i­cally and sto­ry­wise. The book is par­tially about ani­mal test­ing and con­tains some dif­fi­cult pas­sages, how­ever it's worth the effort. Liane Vin­son is a researcher in an ani­mal test­ing facil­ity for Pen­talon in Farm­ng­dayle, LI who just got a pro­mo­tion to work in the mon­key lab . How­ever, one of her favorite pri­mates, a bonobo called Bea, starts to dis­play the abil­ity to speak. Bea becomes an asset to ani­mal rights group and a lia­bil­ity to Pen­talon and the gov­ern­ment. Endan­ger­ing her own life and that of her neigh­bor, the vet­eri­nar­ian Mickey Fer­rone, Liane tries to save Bea from cer­tain death and bring her back home from which she was abducted. "Pri­macy" by J.E. Fish­man starts fast and never lets go. The story revolves around a research ape, type bonobo, who has devel­oped the abil­ity to speak. This great ape, named Bea, doesn't talk in full sen­tences, but a word here or there. How­ever it is enough for Liane, the book's hero­ine, to risk every­thing to save her. While the book could have eas­ily been rehashed as a genre type it reads fresh and excit­ing. Mr. Fishman's pac­ing is flaw­less and the nar­ra­tive superbly enter­tain­ing. The writ­ing style is intel­li­gent and the action sequences are beau­ti­fully executed. When I first started to read this book I thought "not another ani­mal friendly book" and was wait­ing for the inevitable tirade to come about ani­mal test­ing and our treat­ment of our fel­low planet dwellers. To my sur­prise that tirade never came and the dis­cus­sion of the moral and eth­i­cal issues on both sides is han­dles very well. How­ever, ani­mal test­ing and research is por­trayed as evil. The book moves around geo­graph­i­cally, but in an even pace and the author doesn't sim­ply drop his char­ac­ters in an exotic locale but has a rea­son for them being where they are. I found the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion to be believ­able and dimen­sional, even the bad guys were devel­oped. My favorite char­ac­ter was a gov­ern­ment black ops agent for the.Department of Agriculture. While the book does involve some sci­ence, I can­not com­ment on the pas­sages for bet­ter or worst sim­ply because I don't know enough to do so. This is an intel­li­gent book and even though the premise might be far reach­ing, Mr. Fish­man cer­tainly took great care into mak­ing it believable. Author J.E. Fish­man had a very inter­est­ing career in the book busi­ness; his blog is fas­ci­nat­ing and enlight­en­ing. While I didn't think that this book pro­vided me with many answers (if there are any), I do believe it posed many thought pro­vok­ing questions.
Pat_C More than 1 year ago
An interesting setting (animal testing labs) for a fabulous thriller. Fishman gives chimpanzees a large role in his novel and it works fabulously. He also raises questions about animal testing and its limits which makes the read as informative as it is entertaining. The kind of book you just can not put down and still think about a long time after you read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a busy mom with lots of distractions, it takes a lot to keep me engaged. Primacy was a perfect combination of thrilling story line, lots of action and great plot. Loved every minute!
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Liane Vinson is an animal researcher working at Pentalon, a secret animal research facility on Long Island. Her workday includes driving through a crowd of animal rights protesters outside the facility. Although the researchers are not supposed to become attached to their charges, Liane has a particular fondness for two young bonobo apes; a brother and sister. She discovers that these two apes can actually speak, something unheard of in the world of animal research. Keeping the apes' talent secret, Liane is determined to protect the two, and she enlists the aid of her friend, veterinarian Mickey Ferrone. As bodies of her coworkers being to pile up, Liane and Mickey are on a worldwide race to find the origin of the two bonobos and a way to save them from extinction. PRIMACY is a pleasant read, but too similar to others written by the likes of Michael Creighton or Robin Cook. Lynn Kimmerle, Monarch Book Reviews