4.2 7
by J. E. Fishman

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

See more details below


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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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)

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >