The Cure

The Cure

by Douglas E. Richards


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"The Cure will keep you turning the pages all night long."—Douglas Preston, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Impact

"Richards is a tremendous new talent. The Cure is an extraordinarily good novel that will keep you riveted . . . and thinking."—Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of Pirate Alley

Psychopaths cause untold misery. If you found the cure for this condition, just how far would you go to use it?

Erin Palmer had a devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child. Now a grad student and scientist, she's devoting her life to studying these monsters. When her research catches the attention of Hugh Raborn, a brilliant neuroscientist who claims to have isolated the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, Erin realizes it may be possible to reverse the condition, restoring souls to psychopaths. But to do so, she'll not only have to operate outside the law, but violate her most cherished ethical principles.

As Erin becomes further involved with Raborn, she begins to suspect that he harbors dark secrets. Is he working for the good of society? Or is he intent on bringing humanity to its knees?

Hunted by powerful, shadowy forces, Erin teams up with another mysterious man, Kyle Hansen, to uncover the truth. The pair find themselves pawns in a global conspiracy—one capable of destroying everything Erin holds dear and forever altering the course of human history . . .

American society in the early twenty-first century seems to be experiencing a growing epidemic of psychopathic monsters. Douglas E Richards's The Cure explores this condition, and the surprisingly thorny ethical and moral dilemmas surrounding it, within an explosive, thought-provoking, roller-coaster-ride of a thriller that will have readers turning pages deep into the night.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765374097
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

DOUGLAS E. RICHARDS is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Wired and its sequel, Amped. In 2010, in recognition of his work, he was selected to be a special guest at San Diego Comic Con International, along with such icons as Stan Lee, Ray Bradbury, and Rick Riordan. Douglas has a master's degree in molecular biology (a.k.a."genetic engineering"), and was a biotechnology executive for many years. Douglas currently lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, two children, and two dogs.

Read an Excerpt



ERIN PALMER PARKED her fifteen-year-old Dodge Intrepid, which continued to be more reliable than it had any right to be, especially given the time it spent in the relentless desert sun, and checked herself in the rearview mirror. Her hair was pulled back into an ugly, severe bun so tightly that it looked as if she had an oversized forehead. She removed a pair of glasses from a case—glasses containing large, strangely shaped lenses set in thick, brown plastic that seemed to clash in every way possible with the contours of her face—slipped them on, and checked her makeup, which added fifteen years to her face and left the impression of wrinkles rather than a silky-smooth, flawless complexion.

She exited the car and adjusted her drab but professional outfit, which had virtually no waist and was cut in a way that made it unclear to anyone seeing her from the neck down if she was a man or a woman, covering every inch of her body more surely than a burka.

She left the car and walked past a sign that was surrounded by cacti and sagebrush, a tiny oasis of landscaping in an otherwise barren and uncared-for desert landscape. The sign read, Arizona State Prison Complex—Tucson.

Another day at her home away from home.

As she approached the entrance, the main yard came into view within the fenced-in perimeter, the coils of razor wire on top of the tall fences looking as lethal and intimidating as ever. Inmates exercised or conversed in small clusters throughout the dry, dusty yard, every last one of them wearing orange: some wearing cotton slacks and an orange T-shirt, some having chosen orange sweats in the chilly morning desert air, but all of the clothing stamped with giant black letters, ADC, which stood for Arizona Department of Corrections.

She submitted to scanning and security procedures with a mechanical detachment and finally walked through two heavy metal doors that slid open before her, triggered by a guard manning a control station. The doors were programmed so that the second door wouldn’t release until the first door was closed behind her, so that for just a moment she was trapped between two impenetrable doors, in what she’d learned was called a sally port. As she cleared the second door, which slid shut behind her with a solid thunk, she waved her thanks to the guard behind her.

To Erin’s right a familiar sign read, Welcome to ASPC, Tucson—Medium Security Prison. Medium was a misnomer if ever there was one. No one was getting out of this facility unless they were let out.

“Alejandro,” said Erin cheerfully to her favorite prison guard, who met her just inside the grounds. “Good morning.”

“Good to see you, Erin,” he said, having long since become completely comfortable using her first name, which she had insisted upon, rather than the Miss Palmer he had used in the early days. He began to escort her to the side yard where she would spend the entire day.

“How was your daughter’s birthday party this weekend?” asked Erin.

“She loved it,” he said with a big smile. “The balloon guy was a big hit. And a lot less expensive than a magician,” he added.

Erin nodded. “Good choice. Those magicians can be hit or miss. And you got the added benefit of the kids getting to keep the balloons when your guy was finished.”

They entered a side yard, whose most distinguishing feature was a massive trailer that was parked dead center—a long rectangular container that had been unhitched from the cab of an eighteen-wheeler. Makeshift wooden stairs led up to its entrance.

Inside the trailer there was carpeting, an office, an all-important air-conditioning unit, and a smooth, white, doughnut-shaped MRI apparatus, with a perpendicular platform emerging from the bottom of the doughnut hole. The platform would slide the heads and upper torsos of patients inside the white torus, which generated a potent magnetic field, so they could be bombarded with radio frequency pulses and have their brains mapped. The trailer may have been mobile, but it now seemed as permanent a fixture in the prison as the fences, and it was an office Erin had occupied for three or four days a week for many years.

When they arrived at the trailer, Erin handed Alejandro a printed list of names. “I’ve got a pretty packed schedule today,” she said.

“When don’t you have a packed schedule?” he replied in amusement.

They chatted warmly for another five minutes and then he left, returning a few minutes later with a man named John, dressed in orange, although not restrained in any way.

“Welcome back, Miss Palmer,” said John affably. “How was your weekend?”

“Good,” she said flatly; noncommittally. She made sure she always acted professionally, but was never friendly. But this wasn’t always easy to do. The man in front of her now was even more charming than most of the men she worked with—and that was saying a lot. He was relaxed and confident. He was of average height but managed to look trim and appealing, even in prison orange. He had striking blue eyes that stood out against jet-black hair, a masculine and very symmetrical face, and no tattoos or piercings to mar his classically handsome features.

“Are you ready for today’s session?” asked Erin, keeping her voice monotone.

“Absolutely,” replied John enthusiastically. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Yes, he was the total package. He was handsome and charming and smooth as silk. He had also, three years earlier, beaten a young couple into a bloody paste with a tire iron. They had been out on a date and had paused during a stroll for an extended kiss, leaning against his car as they did so and inadvertently scratching it.

When it was over, John calmly carried the tire iron he had used to kill them to a nearby field, buried it, and returned to his apartment, where he had showered off to remove the significant amount of blood that had splattered on him, ordered a pepperoni pizza—since he had worked up quite an appetite—and settled in to watch a movie on cable.

Since this had happened at night and there were no witnesses, it was more luck than skill that had enabled the police to finally catch him five months later. When asked if he felt remorse for what he had done, a look of disbelief had come over his face and he had said, “Why should I feel remorse? They got what was coming to them. I had just gotten that car repainted the week before. They didn’t care about me. Why should I care about them?”

Erin forced herself to remember the exact reason John was here every time she met with him. He smiled at her pleasantly. “Let’s do this thing,” he said, straightening his orange shirt.

Erin nodded, keeping her face impassive. Yeah, she thought grimly, this John is a real charmer all right. She took a deep breath, motioned him into the trailer, and then followed.

Alejandro watched them both enter, waited for the door to shut, and then walked purposefully over to his post near the entrance to the trailer.


Copyright © 2013 by Douglas E. Richards

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The Cure 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
LOUISEJE More than 1 year ago
Early on in the story, the twists and turns lacked transitioning and made following the story line challenging. At one point, the story was so different, I'd thought perhaps the publisher mixed up two different books. It felt like this author did not get the feedback and editing support he deserved for what could have been a solid read. Characters were not adequately developed to support their role in flow of the story. Right now, this book is in a DRAFT state, needing better feedback from skilled support folks in the publishing industry.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Do you like edge of your seat thrillers that touch on science and science fiction? Looking for that escape into something that is both intriguing and intense? The Cure by Douglas E. Richards fit the bill for me, and went beyond with one of those “I didn’t see THAT one coming,” plot twists that had my imagination running full tilt! As a young child, Erin Palmer has had her life shredded in front of her eyes by a twisted monster who felt no qualms about the vile acts he committed. Having grown into a brilliant scientist and self-confident woman, Erin is determined to find what makes a psychopath tick. Is it genetic? Is there a “cure” for this abnormal and anti-social trait? There is one scientist who believes in and encourages her work, going so far as to help direct her focus, and yet, he remains mysteriously distant, communicating only via computer. Is this man who he says he is? Is he even human? Does he harbor a more devious plan? Could it be possible that psychopaths are necessary as part of human survival? Is it their extreme evil that will save the world? Erin stands with only one ally as she becomes a target for both clandestine government agencies and beings far superior, both technologically and intellectually. Has Earth become a pawn in some intergalactic battle for supremacy? Douglas E. Richards hit the ground running with The Cure from page one and never looked back! His main character, Erin, was strong, quick-thinking and resourceful when needed, yet still human and flawed. The author colored many of the other characters just a little gray, leaving room to wonder about them as the story progressed. Using mini-flashbacks to fill in gaps was a brilliant tool that gave me that “aha’ feeling and neatly pinning together bits and pieces of the story. I was completely engrossed in the unique mystery of as it raced through a maze of subplots and revelations full of possibilities. I did NOT know who to trust until the very end and still I wondered, is Earth really safe for now? This ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Forge Books in exchange for my honest review.
steelyshan More than 1 year ago
This story starts with punch in the gut and then unfolds to fast-paced techno-thrill. The characters and their environments are all thoroughly fleshed out and so from page one, you read with the movie playing in your head. To me, this is the hallmark of a fabulous book. There is a strong, intelligent female lead and some very interesting supporting characters and nothing that happens is predictable. Like all of Richards' books, this is another one that will keep you thinking long past the last page. This book presented some fantastic psychological and social dilemmas. I highly recommend this story and for those of you that may be put off by the sci-fi categorization, rest assured, there are not talking toasters or trips to other dimensions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sci-fi fans will love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun, fast paced, fascinating. I've never read anything like it. Defies categorization, but all of it is great reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome. If you hate science fiction mixed in with your thriller, this may not be for you, but if not, you're in for a fun and thoughtful ride. Couldn't put it down
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE CURE by Douglas E. Richards is an interesting Science Fiction/Fantasy. What would you do if you where psychopathic? Well read "The Cure" to find out what Erin Palmer,Hugh Raborn,a neuroscientist and Kyle Hansen discover,who is evil and who is good? Fast paced, thought-provoking, and one roller-coaster of a ride. Filled with ethical dilemmas,danger,cruelty,and violence. Please be warned: the first chapter is very graphic with savage butchering, torture, and the murder of animals and a family, as well as,the description of sensual acts. While, the first few chapters are a turn off to me, the plot thickens, as you go along with many twists and turns. This is after all, Science Fiction and Fantasy! While, I am not a big fan of the Science Fiction genre,"The Cure" does give the reader something to think on..... Oh yea, though in an Alien along the way as well as Psychopaths,and Psycho's and you have a romping story! A interesting read! This was an alright story to me, not one of my favorites, but than sometimes, you just are not in the mood for something this graphic or fantastical. That was the case with me and "The Cure"! With this said,however, if you enjoy Science Fiction,Fantasy and a story that can only be described as out of this world, than be sure to pick up "The Cure". Received for an honest review from the author. RATING: 3 HEAT RATING: Wild Ride REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! I loved it as much as Wired and Amped -- and that's a high bar to hurdle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent from start to finish. The prolog is pretty intense, but the summary did say she had a bad encounter with a psychopath as a young girl, but after this there aren't any other scenes like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are reading this keep on reading my friend jonathan he read a book called the cure and he said it was boring somebone out there tell me what happens in this book and if you are in a wierd station right now like if you dont want ti read this well read for a little bit more i wish that we coyld have a cure to anything. But we didnt. The only cure we have when you are sick is the small stuff. One of my parents died of canser and no one could help her so i just wish that shewas alive so if you are reading this plzz be thankful of what you have. If you are saying mean things on who ever wrote this book well stop cuz what if you were the reader wouldnt you want people to like it and not have kids or adults to say mean thing. Well think about that. So stop saying what u are saying and say positive thing plzz Goodbye:•)
delovic More than 1 year ago
Mr. Richards one again wrote an exceptional thriller.  He comes up with facinating concepts that have  mind blowing repercussions and creates a philosophical dialog on the pros and cons in the midst of an  action packed thriller with impossible to foresee twists and turns.  A truly great read that you can't put down once you get going.