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Gray Matter

Review

Gray Matter



In an age when biotechnology seems to be on the verge of offering
prospective parents every possible option, Gary Braver (pen name
for Northeastern University English Professor Gary Goshgarian) has
written a novel about the aftermath of choice. Like its
predecessor, ELIXIR, GRAY MATTER treads on ground fraught with
ethical dilemma in the face of overwhelming temptation.

Rachel Whitman and her husband live in a tony suburb of Boston.
Thanks to Mr. Whitman's success and business acumen, they appear to
have it all, including a beautiful little boy named Dylan who sings
like an angel. Living in a town where the expression "keeping up
with the Joneses" was born, Rachel wants the best for her family.
Affluence can often breed a sense of entitlement, and GRAY MATTER
more than subtly touches on this cause and effect. Daily, she sees
her son, who has slight learning disabilities, struggling with the
smallest of tasks in comparison to the genius children he is
surrounded by in his exclusive computer science camp and private
school. Plagued by decisions she made as a youth to experiment with
a popular sex drug, she fears that she is the cause of her son's
inferior capabilities and, like any parent who would do all for a
child, she seeks alternatives to improve his brain power.

A kindly neighbor --- and mother of a genius child --- hints at a
procedure that could help slow, innocent Dylan, and Rachel becomes
hooked on learning more. She and her husband embroil themselves in
a quest to find out about the "enhancement" that can double their
child's IQ for a small fortune. There's something troubling ---
mysterious --- about the good doctor who professes to have the
miracle key to unlock Dylan's potential, and something equally
troubling about the legions of brainiacs he has created, but Rachel
can't quite put her finger on it. When detective Greg Zakarian,
obsessed with the past murder of a young boy, starts to investigate
the recent disappearances of several bright but poor children, the
town's secret unfolds quickly and with gruesome, unimaginable
consequences.

GRAY MATTER trespasses into the frightening arena of possibility,
made all the more frightening by the element of realism brought to
the story by Braver's expert research and use of blood-curdling
medical details. We live in a world of ever-increasingly complex
and tempting options. Cloning, stem cell research, the human genome
project --- these and other scientific breakthroughs open up a
whole new world of possibilities, controversial possibilities that
were once solely the realm of science fiction. Braver takes a
fictional look at the dark side of scientific advancement and asks
if the tremendous cost is truly worth the coveted prize for merely
a select few. Along the way, Braver gives us a thrilling story
equal to the best work of Michael Crichton or Douglas Preston and
Lincoln Childs.

Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 22, 2011

Gray Matter
by Gary Braver

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • ISBN-10: 0812570065
  • ISBN-13: 9780812570069