Mysterious Press, Feb 2002, 23.95, 372 pp.
Benson University in upstate Gabriel, New York is in the midst of a major debate over genetically engineered foods. One side of the heated controversy sees this as a means to feed the world population and end the Malthus effect. On the other side, opponents believe science is running amuck Dr. Frankenstein style destroying future generations of third world people.
When the Gabriel Monitor science reporter Jake “Mad” Madison mixes alcohol and prescription drugs to mend a broken heart, he lands in the hospital, which leaves Alex Bernier to report on the food controversy. Brilliant botanist Dr. Kate Barnett leads the genetic food experiments, but is soon found murdered in her laboratory. Alex investigates the homicide looking at the activities of the Don't Break the Food Chain opposition as well as Kate's scientific cronies knowing that either side could hide a murdered amidst their crowd.
BAD SEED is a good, make that excellent, journalistic investigative tale that uses modern scientific debate as a mechanism to set up the motive for a homicide. The story line is fast paced, but clearly belongs to Gen Xer Alex whose retorts provide the audience with humor even as she takes her inquiries quite seriously. Beth Saulnier has written a wonderful novel that is part of a strong series worth reading by fans of investigative tales.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner