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Book Review: Generation – William Knight

Donna Brown14 comments1227 views
Fragmentary Thoughts
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About Generation

A crime-thriller with an injection of horror.

The facts behind the fiction.

In 2001 scientists isolated the gene for regenerating damaged organs from the DNA of a South American flatworm. Within five years it had been spliced into the chromosomes of a rhesus monkey, transported through the cell walls by a retro-virus denuded of its own genetic material.

Attempting to regrow impaired or elderly tissues, a scientist will one day modify the DNA of human beings by injecting the gene-carrying virus. It is just a matter of time.

Before consenting to treatment, you may want to ask a simple question: could there be a situation in which you would want to die but were unable to do so?

Journalist Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic-research lab to an influential drug company.

Aided by Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.

But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

Review: Generation

Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison has been known to discover some unusual cases during his employment as a techno-phobe journalist at Strange Phenomena and at times it seems like he’s on more of a wild goose chase than chasing down a scoop.  Like being called to investigate the story of the Ashburton Wolf!  Also known as… a farm dog.  He’s anti-Twitter and likes to do things a certain way but he’s also tenacious and knows how to take the lead on a story.  In other words, he’s the kind of journalist you’d like investigating when something goes wrong with a company.

Said company in this case is Mendel Pharmaceutical.  They’re riding high on the wave of a new therapy that will make the board members very rich indeed.  Who cares if it’s ethical?  Who cares what the consequences are of the science behind it?  They’ve put big money into this treatment and they’ll put even bigger money into protecting it and their profits.

Generation is quoted as being a cross between the X-Files and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  As a fan of both I’m not sure either reference resonated with me fully – I felt it was more Michael Crichton meets CSI.  There are strange goings on and Hendrix is an investigative reporter into supernatural phenomenon but to me this smacked more of a techno-thriller.  There’s nothing at all wrong with that – as a long time Crichton fan, I’m always pleased to see someone new step into the arena.

Hendrix is an intriguing character though I felt this novel didn’t delve into his personality or history nearly enough.  I could see this being developed as a series or even a television show but as a standalone novel I felt that Hendrix was a little bland as a character and some aspects of the novel a little predictable.  That notwithstanding, it can’t be denied that Knight has put together a compelling read here with an interesting and thought-provoking storyline.  I’d certainly be interested to read more ‘Hendrix Harrison’ novels if that’s on the cards – I feel he could be further developed as a character and tried and tested in many different situations.

Really this is probably around a 3.5 but as Amazon and Goodreads don’t allow the old half scores, I’ll have to go to three.  This is a good read with some well-executed ideas but the character development is a little lacking and the predictability of the story in some areas takes the edge off the twists in some of the others.  Nonethless, it’s a great choice for lovers of Crichton or those who just enjoy a great thriller in general and it’s always nice to see a novel that’s based in the UK with landmarks that I recognise and love!

Verdict: 3/5

Source: Reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.


  1. Good to hear another perspective on this book! My take was a little different. I liked the book a bit better than you did, although I'll admit to some nausea while reading it. 😉

    I'll be posting my own review on the 21st, but in the meantime I'll be posting a review with William on the 15th. I hope you'll check them out too.

  2. Very well written review and I'm really happy with the Crichton meets CSI comment, as you might expect. That's great praise. I'll be sure to check out all your other reviews. You're in Yorkshire, so I'm glad you enjoyed all the references to the North East and Manchester. (I'm married to a Yorkshire girl, myself). I think a 'techno-thriller' in the North of England is well overdue!

  3. Good review! You are right, it does sound like Crichton meets CSI although that didn't cross my mind when I read the book. I was kind of stuck on the Case SW's–freaked the hell out of me, but I enjoyed it. 😛

  4. Great, balanced review, Donna. I agree, the world needs more Crichton-esque authors, definitely! I love the scientific hook as well. I was one of those dorky kids who love to learn–still am too!

    Thank you for supporting this tour. If you have a moment, please kindly cross-post your review to Amazon and GoodReads to help up exposure for William.

    Love all the kitties!
    Emlyn 😀

  5. Great review! I'm more of an X-Files than a Crichton fan, but I'm always looking for a thriller to distract my mind while my body is riding the stationary bike.

  6. I definitely found tinges of Michael Crichton in this book. And, i used to love his books (haven't read any in a long time).
    Thinking about the book in this way, actually changes my perspective a bit. Great review Donna!

    1. Hi Ritesh – I'll be stopping by to comment on yours too – I found it cool that we reached the same verdict about the book but for different reasons. It just shows that everyone is different! But overall, a good read and I hope Knight writes more!

  7. A genuinely well-fleshed out review, Donna! I'm not sure that I'll bother picking up this book now becauseI was honestly only just on the fence about it. I'm sure you've covered it elsewhere on the site, however, what would you say your favourite genre is to read? I understand many people have several 'favourites' but I'm interested to know what grabs your interest the most! 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to write this review up!


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