by Stephanie Meyer
I really enjoyed this book. I reminded me of the Jason Borne movies. I loved the suspense and mystery throughout the book. I was completely caught up in the story and whether everyone was going to make it or not. The writing was phenomenal. My one and only complaint was that it got graphic at points. The main character is a professional torturer and things get dicey at a few points. So, I skimmed a little! Even though I didn’t like the gory parts, they were necessary for the plot, and needing to skim didn’t detract from the book . . .I still loved it. Meyer is absolutely becoming a favorite author. I read The Host first and now The Chemist and I really enjoyed both.
Alex (one of her various aliases) is a former torturer for the American Government. For a reason unknown to her, the government is trying to kill her, so she goes on the run. She gets tracked down by a former associate and asked to come in for a job. Alex is extremely skeptical, but the stakes are high (someone is about to expose the US to a horrific disease), so she decides to step in. The target is an all-American English high school teacher, Daniel. He’s made several trips to Mexico and is syphoning money into various accounts. Alex mages to capture him, setting him up in her torture lab. Mild spoilers: She’s plagued by the idea that he’s not really a bad guy, but the agency can’t be wrong. As she’s torturing him, the feeling strengthens and before long they have company: Daniel’s twin brother, Kevin. Turns out, the “job” was a trap and isn’t real – and Daniel is completely innocent and oblivious. Kevin was in the CIA and got burned when he wanted to continue digging into a job that was “closed.” The threesome become a reluctant crew when they realize they are more likely to stay alive if they stick together. However, Alex and Kevin strongly dislike each other. Daniel serves as the go-between to keep the peace and they begin a long journey to figure out why Kevin and Alex are wanted dead by their two departments. Poor, innocent Daniel gets taken for a ride but he goes willingly as he has fallen for Alex (he fell for her before she tortured him and he decides to overlook the torture). Big spoilers: The threesome travel, trying to be secretive and keep their trail quiet, to Kevin’s safe house. They stay there for only a short time before they are discovered. Kevin is away at this point, so his highly trained dogs, including his lead dog, Einstein, take Alex and Daniel to safety. They meet back up with Kevin and figure out that their directors want them dead because they know information about a political coup. Kevin gets captured and Alex and Daniel hatch an elaborate plot to free him from torture (including a kidnapping, poisoning, and amazing disguises). They manage it, but Daniel gets shot. Thankfully it’t not his heart, but it is his lungs and it’s a brush with death. The family vet steps in to save the day and Daniel is healed. The plot included disposing of the two directors, so no one is left to try and kill them. They keep hiding and build a life for themselves free from fear and discovery. By this time Kevin and Alex have become friends and Alex and Daniel are full on in love!
Summing it up: I loved this intense, creative, awesome book (even though I skimmed some of the gory parts). I definitely recommend it!
All the best, Abbey