Lianne Vinson, a research tech at Pentalon is hiding a secret. In her youth, she was actually arrested as a protester for animal rights, and now here she is working as a researcher and using animals as test subjects.
Her overwhelming guilt finally boils over when twin bonobo chimps are brought to her lab. When she realizes this pair of loveable apes has the amazing power to speak, not just use sign language or mimic sounds, but actually form and pronounce words, she has to break them out. Foiled in her attempt she finally manages to release the female, the Pentalon authorities having already operated on and removed the larynx of the male twin for observation, and so Lianne and Bea have to flee and go underground.
With the help of her veterinarian neighbor, Mickey Farrone—who is harboring a crush on her and would do anything to help—Lianne hooks up with her ex-boyfriend, Corey, who still heads up the secretive organization. Her goal is to get Bea back in the hands of the Congolese government and to place her with her family in the wild.As implausible as it might be that apes could actually evolve the capability to speak, Fishman does a magnificent job of under-playing this discovery and allows his readers to enjoy the story without heavy-handed application. This debut novel is a marriage of medical thriller, along the lines of Robin Cook, to fear on a scale you have never experienced, as typically brought to readers by Michael Crichton
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