Thursday, July 26, 2012


Title:                      The Immortality Virus
Author:                   Christine Amsden
Author web site:
Publisher:              Twilight Times Books
ISBN:                    978-1-60619-003-6
Genre:                  Science Fiction
Release date:      June 15, 2011
Pages:                 270

Synopsis . . . 

In the mid-21st century, the human race stopped aging. Those who know why aren’t talking, and the few who are brave enough to ask questions tend to disappear. To an elite few, The Change means long life and health, but to the ever-increasing masses, it means starvation, desperation, and violence.

Four centuries after The Change, Grace Harper, a blacklisted P.I., sets off on a mission to find the man responsible for it all and solicit his help to undo The Change — if he’s still alive. To complicate matters, Grace’s employer is suspected of murdering his father, and when the police learn of their connection, they give her a choice — help them find the evidence they need to convict Matthew Stanton, or die. But if they discover Grace’s true mission, they won’t hesitate to kill her in order to preserve their shot at immortality. 

“Why did you call me here?” Grace asked. She remembered the newspaper headlines again and found herself wondering if, just maybe, Matt had killed his father. Accidents, murder, or disease were the only way for a person to die when age didn’t plunge them towards that fate. Perhaps Matt had been sick of waiting around for his father to step aside and leave control of Medicorp to him.
“Straight to business, then?”
Grace nodded. “You have to admit, this meeting is unusual.” She did not specifically mention the blacklist, but she was sure Matt would know what she meant. “Does this have anything to do with your father’s death?”
“My father?” Matt cocked his head to the side. “That was a terrible accident in the midst of a robbery. Once you get as old as we are, you begin to tempt fate every day just by being alive. Old age might not get to us, but accidents are inevitable. Besides, the police have already handled the investigation.”
“They found the killer?” Grace asked, confused. She would have heard. Besides, since the robber had successfully stolen a holosuit, it seemed unlikely that anyone would find him.
“Not yet, but our city has a fine police force, and I’m sure they’ll do their job admirably.”
Grace decided not to argue with the idea that the Kansas City police force was either “fine” or “admirable.” They would enthusiastically serve the rich, perhaps, but a madman could go on a shooting spree in the park, and they’d just call in the recyclers.
“Then why–?” Grace began.
“How old are you, Ms. Harper?”
“I’m sure you know,” Grace said. She suspected that this man knew quite a lot about her.
“Yes, but I’m trying to make you feel more comfortable.”
“I’m one hundred and thirty.”
“Still quite young, then,” Matt said. “The odds are still on your side. Although you chose a dangerous line of work.”
“Is there a safe line of work? This is what I’m good at.”
“Rumor has it that you’re good at finding people,” Matt said.
Grace didn’t hesitate. “The best. I’ve had a fifty percent success rate across my career.”
“Fifty percent?” Matt echoed, his voice hollow. “That doesn’t sound very certain.”
Grace shrugged. “Who said life was certain? But most in the business don’t find more than one in ten.” Grace hesitated, but decided to go for broke. “I don’t always get work looking for people with ID chips, either. My clients aren’t people who deal with The Establishment, but I guess you know that.”
“Of course.”
“So then I must assume that the person you’re looking for is either someone without an ID chip or someone The Establishment wouldn’t want you to find.” Grace paused and tried not to think about the implications of that. “Probably both.”
A small smile played at the corner of Matt’s mouth, but he did not answer in words. He walked to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out an old-fashioned digital diary, the kind people used to buy when they had more money and resources than they knew what to do with. Grace had only seen them in movies. It looked a little like a notebook from the outside, but opening the cover revealed a microphone and speakers. “I ran across this diary a few weeks ago, mixed in with some old records the company was throwing out. It’s fascinating.”

About the Author. . .      

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. 
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. 
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

Reader Review. . . 

It's the year 2450, and old age has been eradicated.  Grace Harper has been hired by Matthew Stanton to find Jordan Lacklin, the scientist responsible for stopping the aging process.  But four hundred years of near-immortality has caused a population overload.  Finding one man in a world of wall-to-wall people could be impossible.  Her ex-lover Sam works for Mr. Stanton and wants to help Grace with her task, but Grace doesn't know if she wants Sam's involvement in her life again.

Christine Amsden has written an interesting science fiction novel set in the distant future.  The idea of a time when the aging process will be stopped is not so hard to imagine.  Mankind has always been fascinated with immortality, so it is not unreasonable to think that scientists somewhere, someday will try to find the key to ending the aging process.  This novel definitely has something going for it, because I don't usually enjoy science fiction.  To be truthful, it was an accident on my part that I signed up for the review.  When I realized the genre, I worried that I would not be able to give an honest review since I'm not really that familiar with sci-fi.  However, the plot was good and held my interest so that when I finished the novel, I was sorry to see the end.  The characters were well-drawn, so that the reader feels a personal connection.  This is one of the most important characteristics of good writing, in my opinion.  

Definitely a 4-star novel.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by The Virtual Book Tour Cafe', no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*


Christine Amsden said...

Thank you so much for the kind review of my novel! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if it's not your normal genre. You said:

"The characters were well-drawn, so that the reader feels a personal connection. This is one of the most important characteristics of good writing, in my opinion."

This is my opinion as well. In fact, when people ask me what my favorite genre is, I say that I like the ones with strong characters. Unfortunately, they're not shelved that way. :)

The Self-Taught Cook said...

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. I like your idea of the "strong character genre". Now all we have to do is rework the Dewey Decimal System.... : )

Bk Walker said...

Excellent review. I'm glad you enjoyed Christine's book. Thank you for hosting Christine.


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