December 12, 2018

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Ex-agents team up in Meyer's thriller

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/1/2017 (683 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A true thriller, Stephenie Meyer’s The Chemist keeps its readers in suspense from start to finish.

In her second attempt at commercial fiction written for adults, the American author best-known for the Twilight series of young adult fiction has penned an engrossing tale of espionage, revenge, and love at first sight.

Like her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, The Chemist’s bestseller status was a given long before publication. With the release of the final Twilight film in 2012, the author has finally been able to turn conversations about her work back to her undeniable talent for storytelling.

Godspeed — may she never hear the question “Team Edward or Team Jacob” in an interview again. Meyer has far more important matters at hand, tackling complex issues of homeland security, gang violence, and white-collar crime in The Chemist as corruption runs deep. Nevertheless, as in her previous works, she incites conflict with an us-versus-them dichotomy.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/1/2017 (683 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A true thriller, Stephenie Meyer’s The Chemist keeps its readers in suspense from start to finish.

In her second attempt at commercial fiction written for adults, the American author best-known for the Twilight series of young adult fiction has penned an engrossing tale of espionage, revenge, and love at first sight.

Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post files</p><p>Author Stephenie Meyer.</p>

Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post files

Author Stephenie Meyer.

Like her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, The Chemist’s bestseller status was a given long before publication. With the release of the final Twilight film in 2012, the author has finally been able to turn conversations about her work back to her undeniable talent for storytelling.

Godspeed — may she never hear the question "Team Edward or Team Jacob" in an interview again. Meyer has far more important matters at hand, tackling complex issues of homeland security, gang violence, and white-collar crime in The Chemist as corruption runs deep. Nevertheless, as in her previous works, she incites conflict with an us-versus-them dichotomy.

To start, the (so-called) "chemist" — or Alex, as she comes to be known — is a highly specialized former interrogator on the run in the American heartland. When a top-secret government agency offers her freedom in exchange for one last assignment, Alex grudgingly accepts. She soon finds herself in the crosshairs of Kevin, an ex-CIA operative, but in a ghastly twist Alex join forces with him to uncover the truth about their previous employers.

Together, Alex and Kevin attempt to reveal a conspiracy within the federal government; predictably, themes of good versus evil arise. Thanks to Meyer’s strong pacing, the characters in The Chemist feel fully developed.

With considerable intrigue, Meyer fully engages readers until a shocking denouement occurs at a classified underground facility near Washington, D.C. When the dust settles, though, Meyer concludes the novel with an epilogue representative of the American dream. This is an oddly anachronistic choice, given the liberal milieu of The Chemist.

Regrettably, the epilogue is a blight on an otherwise avant-garde work of contemporary literature.

The culpability of The Chemist is laden with a complexity that Meyer has not previously shown her readers. Countering a sense of righteous indignation with the painful burden of guilt, her characters atone.

Meyer’s shrewd sense of humour encourages readers of The Chemist to identify with its cynicism more so than its despair. She illustrates the grace of silver linings; indeed, light is found even in the darkest of moments.

Those who are irredeemable are punished accordingly — justice is served. Meyer sets much of her high-stakes drama in and around Capitol Hill. Astutely, without sensationalism, she reflects American public opinion on domestic and foreign intelligence in the 21st century — the good, the bad, and the nasty.

With a knack for serial narrative structure, Meyer possesses all the makings of a successful follow-up to The Chemist; perhaps one written from another character’s point of view. This may be wishful thinking, however, as the author’s conclusive epilogue leaves little open to interpretation — the fate of the chemist appears to be sealed.

Fans of best-selling authors James Patterson, John Grisham, and Lee Child will likely enjoy Meyer’s latest.

Jennifer Pawluk is a Winnipeg communications specialist.

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