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by James Calder
Chronicle Books, July 2003
272 pages
ISBN: 0811836800

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Bill Damen, full time filmmaker and part time detective, has been hired to revamp the image of Algoplex's founder. Algoplex is about to merge with Plush Biologics, which will result in millions for everyone. Rod Glaser has the persona of the stereotypical science nerd. However, Rod has an amazing looking girlfriend named Alissa. Alissa does not show up for a film shoot as she was supposed to and Rod is worried. Rod and Damen break into Alissa's apartment to find her; however, they find no evidence of her. Alissa was in fact a hired escort and her agency is pressuring Rod to produce her.

This situation comes to a head when Rod is found dead. The police believe that he committed suicide; however, Damen does not see that situation as likely. Somehow Alissa is the clue. Until he can find her, or her body, the case will remain unsolved. None of the suspects offer any helpful information about Alissa or her possible whereabouts. Throw into this mix Alissa’s demanding mother and a gene altering beauty aid, and Damen has more clues and suspects than he does answers. Damen must find Alissa before he too is eliminated.

ABOUT FACE has a breezy style. Even though certain elements of the book are supposed to be suspenseful, this style actually causes the book to seem almost carefree. That is not to imply that Damen does not see the dangers of the situations he finds himself in, merely that his fear does not come across successfully. This is not entirely a flaw. Although the suspenseful elements were lacking, these stylistic elements have the ability to draw a reader into the story.

This book also lacked any in-depth science information. At the heart of the story is the creation of a gene altering beauty treatment. Plush Biologics has found the ability to protect skin from aging. This problem might simply be the bias of the reviewer; however, I would have liked to know more about how the treatment was developed and why it was so radical. After all, science has been attempting to erase the signs of aging for some time – it would have been interesting to see how this author imagined the solution. This lack of depth was disappointing since the book itself could have been tighter if there had been more information on the success of a drug treatment that people were killing to get.

ABOUT FACE is James Calder's second book. It is also the second book in the Bill Damen series. The first book in the series is KNOCKOUT MOUSE.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, September 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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