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Side Effect

Sandra Feder

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (2 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Thornwood Publishing Company LLC

Published : 2000

Copyright : Sandra Spewock Feder 2000

ISBN-10 : HB 1-930541-05-8
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-930541-05-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Have you ever licked your finger to turn a page in a book, or to separate the pages of a letter? A harmless gesture, unless you died as a result of it.

In the opening pages of Side Effect, death is delivered by mail. What these people do? Why did they have to die? Who could possibly profit from such cold blooded murders?

In Side Effect - set in the drug industry and taking place over just nine days - a group of ruthless people come up against a brilliant and bull headed man who will risk anything to defend what is his. Dr. Grant Fraser, who lives and breathes drug research, creates an immunity-strengthening drug that may change the way doctors fight disease. When his employer, Altimate Pharmaceuticals, abruptly stops research on his drug Grant doesn't believe the reasons he is given and he is determined to know the truth.

Grant discovers that his drug has a disastrous side effect, exploited in a widespread scheme that has caused a number of deaths. He feels responsible for his creation, and tries to stop the conspirators before anyone else dies - in spite of their repeated attempts to kill him. Who is actually behind the scheme - and the real purpose they have for his drug - are revelations that turn his world upside down.

Side Effect is a very real and captivating story.

"I did actually read the whole book and found it interesting and entertaining. A scientist as "hero" in what is essentially a mystery novel is a bit unusual. There are also plenty of twists and turns in the plot to hold your interest. The scientific material is well done, certainly more detail and more accuracy than one usually finds in works of fiction."

Dr. Michael J. Pikal Chairman, Pharmaceutical Sciences. University of Connecticut
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Molly (280219) Rating (9/10)
Review by Chrissi (310501) Rating (7/10)

Review by Molly
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 9/10

On the pages of Sandra Feder’s Side Effect, the Reader is drawn into a narrative in which a succession of enigmatic deaths appear to be linked to the medical treatment investigation work in progress by one Dr Grant Fraser.

Fraser has engendered a noteworthy medication that he believes just may transform the therapeutic community when unexpectedly his study is brought to a standstill by Altimate Pharmaceuticals. Only a year ago Fraser thought he was on top of the world. He was the most important researcher Altimate had, he was engaged to Dena, company president Nathan Horcroft’s daughter, life was good.

Then came the shock of Dena’s tragic, unexpected, death in an airplane crash and his world seemed to crumble. Now, it again looked as if that his life and profession were once more on track, the drug he had engendered seemed to have capacity to transfigure how doctors treat illness. When his research concerning the drug is cancelled Fraser is disbelieving of the reasons put forward by his boss, the director of research. He suspects a conspiracy.

Confusing Fraser’s situation are the three ambition driven women who have been closely involved with his study; Daniele Horcroft, Dena’s twin sister who does not care much for Fraser, Angie his shrewd, self-doubting young assistant, and, the director of communications Joss Avery, the attractive, ex-wife of the sad case aspirant for governor. Quest of their individual motivations serve to push Fraser to a chilling finding.

His drug has a worrisome side effect, a side effect being exploited in a wide-ranging plan that has already begun causing deaths. Fraser feels responsible for his creation, is determined to get to the truth regarding what is going on and why, and, begins a not so merry chase during which he finds himself caught up in too many close calls with death.

Danger seems to lurk behind every turn, no one is safe, even the one person he had thought completely trustworthy proves not to be.

Fraser realizes almost too late no one is safe, not Bailey his dog, not Dena’s nephew, certainly not himself. Fraser’s attempts to stop the conspirators before more die is met with repeated attempts on his own life. Just in time Fraser realizes between misdirection and duplicity he has mistaken enemies and allies.

It is when he discovers who is really behind the plot and the actual purpose his enemies have for the drug the real hunt begins with himself as the target.

I found Side Effect to be a real page turner filled with connivance, narrow escapes, exploit, real life situation, help from unanticipated sources and more twists and turns than a roller coaster.

Writer Feder has crafted a riveting, well-wrought work filled with lively, frequently very likeable, characters, stimulating circumstances and adroit dialogue. Her experience as a research chemist has been put to good use in this narrative.

The bad guys are well developed, cold-hearted beyond belief and may catch you by surprise if you are not careful. I found the creativity shown by this writer to be very invigorating. Side Effect, taking place over a 9 day period heightens the sense of urgency, is not a 'canned' or formula work by any means; the narrative keeps the reader turning the page.

Writer Sandra Feder presents herself to readers through a very comprehensible work. With any luck this particular effort is a revealing for how she plans to continue developing as a writer. I hope there are many books from her in future.

Writer Feder brings a quality of fidelity to her account that many works of fiction lack. Side Effect is focused around Pharmaceutical Science. Every so often writers of fiction take liberties with what is possible as opposed to what is credible with the result that their work lacks validity. Not so on the pages of Side Effect.

The anguish Grant depicts as he endeavours to disentangle this fast moving, action packed tale is something we can feel and understand. His increasing confusion regarding who may be friend and or foe washes over onto the reader, don't be caught off guard by those cagey red herrings. Feder's work is filled with emotion, and deceit along with a hefty dollop of downright fright tossed in just to keep it interesting.

Jam-packed with the semi inscrutable mystery of an Agatha Christie novel combined with the fast action William Manchee portrays in his Stan Turner series; Side Effect is a book you will not want to put down until you have reached that last page. If you enjoy a well written mystery filled with lots of action and mystery you will likely enjoy Side Effect. If mysteries are not your cup of tea you may not.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend. Certain, to please the target audience; not for everyone.
Molly (28th February 2019)

Review by Chrissi
Book Source: Author
Rating 7/10
It is, I am sure, a matter of note that there are some very expensive drugs out in the world today. Anyone who has read a newspaper has heard of Viagra and has heard how our beloved NHS is struggling to fund the wide range of treatments available whilst trying not to allow the exorbitant cost of drugs to totally overwhelm the budget allowed for providing care for the many other users.
It is a political hot potato, how to keep most of the people happy for most of the time.

Side Effect is based within the hugely expensive world of the Pharmaceuticals Industry, where companies are constantly trying to find new ways to defeat the old enemies of disease and death. Anything that can find a place in a doctors arsenal is worth staggering amounts of money to the company that can bring the drug to the marketplace.

Unfortunately, for every new drug that makes it that far, dozens find themselves on the scrapheap, often after years of painstaking research.

Side Effect is the story of one such research project. The researcher is Dr Grant Fraser, who has been working on one such project for several years and feels that his drug has great potential. His original project involved two pieces, but one was cancelled because it did not seem to have the effect that it was supposed to have, and so he has devoted his life to the other one, especially since the love of his life died in an aeroplane accident.

He is a driven man, his research is all that has kept him going since she died, and when he is told that the new drug is also going to be cancelled, he needs to investigate for personal reasons.

What he finds is that some drugs may be used for their original purpose but some find a side effect that is potentially worth something to people who have a hidden agenda.

Side Effect is interesting because it is a story about the other side of the great pharmaceutical industry. There are some very large companies with money to burn in order to insert themselves into your bathroom cabinet. Unfortunately, with such an industry, it will have successes and failures, drugs that failed completely in one area may find a new lease of life in a different sphere, an excellent example is that of the accursed Thalidomide, now finding a home in the treatment of Bechet's Disease, with very promising results.

I enjoyed this book, for several reasons. It is well researched, either the author has worked in the pharmaceutical industry or they have spent a lot of time and effort to be able to write this book. You know that I am a sucker for good research, I have told you all several times. The opening of the story, always so crucial, is excellent, with different characters being brought in, and it is difficult to try to second guess the author, as further events unfold, it proves even more difficult, keeping you guessing.

The story is well paced, happening as it does over the very short period of nine days, although there are events which occurred before this period, we do not find out the relevance until now. The other thing that I liked is that the main character is a scientist, (with a dog - sorry, sentimental moment here, I like dogs:) )

Dr Fraser tries to sort out the tangle in which he finds himself, but unfortunately he keeps digging himself yet deeper. His relationship with his co-workers starts to suffer and yet he keeps on going. He finds some unlikely allies, and some unworthy friends, showing that all is not what it seems to be, and that seemingly unrelated events have a link.
Chrissi ( 31st May 2001)

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