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Stone Creek Books © 2016, 374 pages [amazon]
Brain Trust is the new stand-alone thriller by authors Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore, and I think it may be my favorite of theirs to date. The book tells the related stories of two characters. Maggie Hayden is the widowed mother of a math prodigy who's been having problems at school since his father's death. Maggie's life seems to be falling apart until a too-good-to-be-true job offer from out of the blue solves her financial and her son's social difficulties. She relocates to a planned community founded by her new employer, Reichert Pharmaceuticals. The other lead character is Brian Wheeler, who also works for Reichert, and who begins to suspect early on in the book that the company is up to no good. Maggie and Brian's stories eventually overlap, as they independently discover more information about Reichert and its nefarious plans.
For the most part, the book alternates between its two story lines every chapter. (There are just a couple of exceptions to this plan.) This approach can be problematic if it's poorly done, but it works very well in Brain Trust. First, the jumps between the stories were not at all jarring. With each chapter I immediately fell into the next story again without forgetting my place in it, or forgetting characters' names, for example. Second, both of the stories were equally compelling. I found this very impressive. And as with all the Sholes/Moore books I have read (a fair number now!), the authors' collaboration is seamless. I have no idea how they share the responsibility of writing, but I have never detected any differences in style within their books. Brain Trust is a good, fast read and comes recommended! (My thanks to the authors for sending me a review copy of the book.)