Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dead Head by Allen Wyler

Dr. Russell Lawton has just completed an objective he's spent years working toward, making a speech and sharing his research at a prominent conference for neurosurgeons.  Lawton's research is in the field of brain-computer interfaces, and his work shows promise.  He has been able to have monkeys move robotic arms with their brain waves. 

Flush with success after the talk,, he relaxes and then, his world changes.  He is kidnapped by terrorists.  Worse, they inform him that they have kidnapped his daughter and will kill her if he doesn't do what they want.  What they want is for him to help them communicate with another of the men in their network.  The terrorists are planning a major attack on American soil, but this man, who plays a key role, has been involved in a car accident and is not expected to live.

Their plan is to have Lawton take custody of the patient, and if he shows signs of not being able to survive, to use his research to help them extract the knowledge they need.  If the body dies, they want to sever the head and keep it alive, with Dr. Lawton using his research to translate the brain waves into speech.  Is this possible? 

Lawton is caught in a vise.  Either help the terrorists destroy his nation, or refuse and lose his daughter to murder.  Faced with her death, he agrees to help the terrorists.  But when the FBI find out about his daughter's abduction and come to question him, he establishes a line of communication with them.  Can Lawton keep the patient alive long enough to save his daughter and for the FBI to foil the terrorist attack?

This book is recommended for thriller readers.  The action starts immediately and each chapter rackets up the suspense.  The reader is taken along on a careening journey, unsure how it will all work out.  The author is a surgeon himself, so the medical terms and procedures are correct and logical.  Readers won't be disappointed if they are reading for a thrill--this book packs a powerful punch.

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