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Gargoyles [Hardcover]

Alan Nayes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 25 2001
With the recent completion of the human genome project, speculation on future genetic research has run wild. Most people fear what might happen once humans have the ability to create perfect children. What will it mean when the human race no longer has to deal with natural imperfections-when science can be used to eradicate disability, disease, unique features, asymmetrical faces? But little attention has been given to the other possibility of such research: what will happen now that the human race may have the ability to create perfectly imperfect children? The research industry-and the human race-may never be the same.

Brilliant pre-med student Amoreena Daniels needs money desperately. Her mother is dying of metastatic cancer, and the medical insurance has run out. When told of a new cancer study that offers some measure of hope for patients in her mother's condition, Amoreena is thrilled-until she realizes that the treatment will cost $30,000. When a seemingly legitimate women's clinic offers Amoreena $50,000 for service as a surrogate mother, Amoreena thinks her prayers have been answered. But then-much too early-her baby begins to move.

The strange dreams, another surrogate's mysterious death, and a drug-addicted former medical intern confirm Amoreena's worst suspicion: there is something terribly wrong with her pregnancy. Amoreena embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind the endless battery of genetic tests, sonograms, and frightened patients, only to discover that she has unwittingly become a pawn in a high-stakes game of biomedical experimentation.

In the tradition of Robin Cook and Richard Preston, Alan Nayes has written an absorbing, terrifying novel about what happens when human beings have the ability to save countless lives-by changing the face of humanity.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Navigating the turbulent waters of genetic manipulation, this first novel tells a grisly what-if tale, speculating about the possible outcome of human gene research gone bad. Amoreena Daniels, a young Julia Roberts look-alike, is a bright but impoverished premed student who chooses to become a surrogate mother in order to pay for her uninsured mother's cancer treatment. She believes she is gestating a child for private adoption, but a series of suspicious incidents at the clinic lead her to wonder whether something different is in the works. The other surrogate mothers seem to be mostly illegal aliens, and some of them are badly frightened. Then a former medical intern with a drug problem gets in touch with her and tries to convince her that the clinic is fronting a scheme to produce subhuman clones for organ harvesting and scientific experimentation. Amoreena refuses to believe him, but a disk he sends her after he mysteriously disappears proves he is right. Unwittingly, she has allowed her body to be used as an incubator for "drones," mostly human but also part pig and part baboon. The novel culminates in a long episode set in Guatemala, where Amoreena is taken against her will to give birth. Nayes doesn't indulge in gory detail, focusing instead on the clinic intrigue and a Guatemala subplot involving two young crusaders out to foil the clinic's plans. The frisson the novel supplies is meager when weighed against the wordy buildup, but those who prefer their thrills mild may be satisfied.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Gargoyles is a heart-stopping page turner that kept me on the edge of my seat. Alan Nayes combines his expertise and slick writing to brilliantly bring to life the all-too-real
possibilities of genetic engineering in the wrong hands. Gargoyles is a frighteningly good read!"-April Christofferson, author of The Protocol and Edgewater

"A splendid debut. A timely tale, steadily accelerating suspense . . . and a warning."
-Charles Wilson, USA Today best-selling author of Deep Sleep and Extinct

"The idea behind this story is first rate. Dr. Nayes shows the dark side of genetic engineering run amok, in a nightmarish biotech scenario. . . . Gargoyles is an audacious beginning for a bold new writer of medical thrillers."-David M. Shobin, New York Times bestselling author of The Provider

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gargoyles,Timely Book Jan. 8 2002
Format:Hardcover
Gargoyles, by Alan Nayes, his first book (two more on the way). I loved it! Good, short prologue, he grabs the reader's interest immediately. Sympathetic characters in desperate situations with real problems. Their stories grab you by the heart and you are on a runaway train. It's a fast, edge of the seat, heart in the mouth ride with a satisfying conclusion.
This is about surrogate mothers, bioengineering, cloning and a greedy pharmaceutical corporation. Plenty of ambiance, the setting is southern California, south, through Mexico to Guatemala.
You know what's so scary about all this? It is just too possible, it is no longer in the realm of science fiction! Think about it. Fish genes in tomatoes, human genes in both pigs and cattle. I clipped all that from the newspapers and saved it. Only God knows what else they are doing - with humans and cloning.
Fiction writers have always led the pack when it comes to informing the public of something they need to become aware of, and Nayes has done a good job.
Alan Nayes is a gifted new writer of medical thrillers. Like Robin Cook, he writes what he knows, and he, too, is in medicine.
With Nayes' expertise in the field in which he writes, and his writing ability, Gargoyles should be a best seller the first time out.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars well-written medical research thriller Aug. 14 2001
Format:Hardcover
Amoreena Daniels is a brilliant pre-med student needing a scholarship to attend med school so she works extraordinarily hard towards that goal. However, her idyllic world collapses when she learns her beloved mother Geneva suffers from cancer. Worse, Geneva used her small available cash to pay for Amoreena's education, leaving her without health insurance and little hope for the high cost treatment that might save her life.
However, to the rescue is Meechum Corporation's Women's Clinic who pays Amoreena fifty grand to serve as a surrogate mother. Soon her saviors come under suspicion GARGOYLES for illegal medical practices by the once naive Amoreena. Whatever is inside her womb is growing at a humanly impossible rate and feels like it is ripping her up. When she complains, the clinic staff insists nothing is wrong and this is normal. Amoreena rejects the explanations even as she begins to receive weird warnings from female strangers. She vows to learn the truth not yet knowing how dangerous that endeavor is.
GARGOYLES is a well-written medical research thriller that, though it adds nothing new to the genre, will excite readers. The story line is loaded with action as even a person with Amoreena's background is caught up in the questionable activities of Meechum, leaving the audience to wonder about the average individual who gives God-like trust to the profession. There will be no naysayers to Alan Nayes' strong look at the ethics of modern day genetics claiming the betterment of humanity justifies the means.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly impossible to put down Dec 12 2001
Format:Hardcover
It's nearly impossible to put down author Alan Nayes' Gargoyles once begun: a too-realistic plot tells of a college woman seeking money to treat her terminally ill mother. The only way she can earn big bucks fast is by answering a clinic's ad to become a surrogate - but when she begins to suspect the nature of her unborn child, danger strikes. Intriguing ethical and moral questions continue in unexpected directions right up to the final, satisfyingly surprising, conclusion.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars none Aug. 11 2001
Format:Hardcover
Nayes has written a suspenseful and timely thriller that's poised to become tomorrow's headlines. "Gargoyles" has the medical intellect and intrigue of Robin Cook, the page turning suspense of Charles Wilson, and the technological wonderment of Tom Clancy.... A solid first novel. Gary S. Potter Author/Poet
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well-written medical research thriller Aug. 14 2001
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Amoreena Daniels is a brilliant pre-med student needing a scholarship to attend med school so she works extraordinarily hard towards that goal. However, her idyllic world collapses when she learns her beloved mother Geneva suffers from cancer. Worse, Geneva used her small available cash to pay for Amoreena's education, leaving her without health insurance and little hope for the high cost treatment that might save her life.
However, to the rescue is Meechum Corporation's Women's Clinic who pays Amoreena fifty grand to serve as a surrogate mother. Soon her saviors come under suspicion GARGOYLES for illegal medical practices by the once naive Amoreena. Whatever is inside her womb is growing at a humanly impossible rate and feels like it is ripping her up. When she complains, the clinic staff insists nothing is wrong and this is normal. Amoreena rejects the explanations even as she begins to receive weird warnings from female strangers. She vows to learn the truth not yet knowing how dangerous that endeavor is.
GARGOYLES is a well-written medical research thriller that, though it adds nothing new to the genre, will excite readers. The story line is loaded with action as even a person with Amoreena's background is caught up in the questionable activities of Meechum, leaving the audience to wonder about the average individual who gives God-like trust to the profession. There will be no naysayers to Alan Nayes' strong look at the ethics of modern day genetics claiming the betterment of humanity justifies the means.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary and engrossing medical thriller. Feb. 28 2006
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Alan Nayes's "Gargoyles" features spunky and beautiful Amoreena Daniels, a twenty-one year old premed student in California whose mother, Geneva, is dying of cancer. Unfortunately, Geneva's health insurance policy has lapsed. Amoreena cannot afford to pay for the expensive treatment that her mother desperately needs if she is to have any chance of survival. The young woman makes a fateful decision to sign herself up as a surrogate mother at a place called the Women's Clinic. The money that Amoreena stands to earn will help defray Geneva's astronomical medical costs.

Meechum Medical Corporation, which owns the Women's Clinic, is a pharmaceutical firm run by (you guessed it) unscrupulous and ruthless individuals who are willing to take ethical shortcuts in the name of big profits. Only after Amoreena becomes pregnant does she get wind of the fact that the clinic personnel are hiding some very unpleasant details from her. As her pregnancy progresses, Amoreena finds out that Meechum is involved in a much more nefarious business than mere surrogate motherhood.

Although the plot is familiar, Nayes diverges from the paint-by-numbers formula in enough ways to capture the reader's interest. Amoreena is not your typical Teflon heroine. She makes mistakes, acts impulsively, shows poor judgment, and has unbelievably bad luck. In addition, she has no love interest or any hint of one. The villains, alas, are stock characters, a few of whom rationalize their actions in the name of medical research. Some of the other bad guys are your standard sadists.

The writing is, for the most part, fairly literate and fast-paced, and most readers will find themselves anxiously turning pages late into the night to learn Amoreena's fate. The author provides enough medical details to lend the novel verisimilitude, and the obligatory chase scenes, some of which take place in the jungles of Guatemala, are suspenseful and exciting. Nayes wisely avoids tying up all of the loose ends, leaving the reader with the disturbing idea that there could be scientists who would engage in grotesque medical experimentation if they thought that they could get away with it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gargoyles,Timely Book Jan. 8 2002
By Jo Proferes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gargoyles, by Alan Nayes, his first book (two more on the way). I loved it! Good, short prologue, he grabs the reader's interest immediately. Sympathetic characters in desperate situations with real problems. Their stories grab you by the heart and you are on a runaway train. It's a fast, edge of the seat, heart in the mouth ride with a satisfying conclusion.
This is about surrogate mothers, bioengineering, cloning and a greedy pharmaceutical corporation. Plenty of ambiance, the setting is southern California, south, through Mexico to Guatemala.
You know what's so scary about all this? It is just too possible, it is no longer in the realm of science fiction! Think about it. Fish genes in tomatoes, human genes in both pigs and cattle. I clipped all that from the newspapers and saved it. Only God knows what else they are doing - with humans and cloning.
Fiction writers have always led the pack when it comes to informing the public of something they need to become aware of, and Nayes has done a good job.
Alan Nayes is a gifted new writer of medical thrillers. Like Robin Cook, he writes what he knows, and he, too, is in medicine.
With Nayes' expertise in the field in which he writes, and his writing ability, Gargoyles should be a best seller the first time out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly impossible to put down Dec 12 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's nearly impossible to put down author Alan Nayes' Gargoyles once begun: a too-realistic plot tells of a college woman seeking money to treat her terminally ill mother. The only way she can earn big bucks fast is by answering a clinic's ad to become a surrogate - but when she begins to suspect the nature of her unborn child, danger strikes. Intriguing ethical and moral questions continue in unexpected directions right up to the final, satisfyingly surprising, conclusion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mayra Calvani -- TCM REVIEWS Dec 2 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Does the end ever justify the means?

Readers will ponder this question as they immerse themselves in this engrossing, hard-to-put-down, excellently researched medical thriller.

Brilliant, beautiful pre-med student Amoreena Daniels needs money desperately; her mother has cancer and her insurance has just run out. Then one day a strange woman approaches Amoreena with an unusual proposition: her mother may have all the medical care she needs, if Amoreena agrees to offer her services as a surrogate mother. Propelled by her mother's desperate situation, Amoreena agrees. After all, the Woman's Clinic looks like a first-class, professional, excellent medical center.

Soon, however, strange, disturbing things begin to occur, making her wonder if she's made the right decision after all.

As Amoreena begins to ask questions and look deeper into the Woman's Clinic, she's drawn into a vortex of danger, cruelty and greed that will take her as far as the jungles of Central America.

This is one of those novels which grabs the reader by the throat early on and doesn't let go until the very last page. The tension and suspense are relentless. Amoreena is incredibly sympathetic--intelligent, arrogant, yet kind and sensitive. Her relationship with her dying mother is one of the most compelling aspects of this story. Highly recommended for fans of thrillers "alla" Robin Cook.
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