BOOKS / Lo] An angel in genes: The Annunciation - Patrick Lynch: Heinemann, pounds 15.99

YOU WANT genetic research? Miracle beauty products? Ecoterrorism? Mad doctors? Mad scientists? Sinister Swiss businessmen? Overweight Californian private eyes? Beautiful ski instructresses? Investment analysts in red braces? A heroine so spunky that even while she's having her ovaries plundered by mad scientists she can still knock out a Bach partita on a Stradivarius? A hero prepared to undergo a nose job to rescue the woman he loves? If you want all that, you want The Annunciation. It's the first in a trilogy; we are promised The Immaculate Conception in 1994 and The Resurrection in 1995.

Annunciations require virgins, of course. This one, unlikely as it may seem, is Cathy Ryder, Wall Street cosmetics industry investment analyst. She's on the slide at Webber Atlantic, having lost the firm a ton of money in recent months, and needs a break - an angel. And lo, up pops Ernst Krystal, who gives her a hot tip which pays off in spades: shadowy Swiss outfit Mendelhaus (geddit?) has a new anti-ageing glop which is going to make all rival glops look like, well, glop . . .

Meanwhile the career of Mike Varela, Anglo-Saxonised Latino from the wrong side of the tracks - well, Queens - has really gone down the tubes. The deal he constructed for Swift and Drew, involving Mendelhaus taking over their closest American rivals, is suddenly off, his security pass won't open the office door, and he hasn't even made the first payment on the BMW. By the twanging of his red braces he knows something is wrong; perhaps if he cuddles up to Cathy Ryder he'll find out what . . .

Again meanwhile, on the West Coast, grumpy private dick Harry Waterman (dollars 275 a day plus expenses) is checking something out for the Centre for Disease Control; two ageing tough-guy movie stars have suddenly died almost simultaneously of heart cancer, such a colossal statistical improbability that most people assume it was really Aids that killed them. Oddly, they both appear to have gone to Switzerland for a little nip-and-tuck not long before they died . . .

Yet again meanwhile, in an Alpine clinic accessible only by helicopter, loony geneticist Edward Geiger is very close to a breakthrough. (We know he's a loony, because he says things like 'Wrong. Right. What has that got to do with science?' and 'We cannot wait for evolution.') All he needs is a special woman. Her virginity is neither here nor there, as it turns out . . .

There are plenty of deaths, chases, helicopter rides, explosions, grubbing around in ventilation shafts, hiding in broom cupboards, even some good old-fashioned detective work. There's plenty of science and high finance, both fairly opaque; quite a lot of gynaecology too. The whole thing is a big fat combination of medical thriller and financial thriller, with a dollop of Indiana Jones thrown in - utterly ludicrous, but ludicrously enjoyable too, the sort of thing you don't mind anointing with suntan oil. The blurb describes Lynch as a 'major storyteller', which is usually code for 'semi-literate perpetrator of incoherent blockbusters', but is not far from the truth in this case.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent