Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Pharmacology

By Sandy Amazeen Nov 30, 2011, 7:32 GMT

Book Review: Pharmacology

1993. San Francisco. The digital and pharmaceutical industries are booming. They\'re looking for the young, the hip, and those on the counterculture fringe to be both the face and consumer of their new world order. Recruited by an advertising agency focused on targeting a new drug to her own age demographic, Sarah Striker is grateful for the steady income, but begins to question the side effects of the products she\'s ...more

Shortly after discovering her father was dying of cancer, Sarah Striker moved forward with her plans to relocate to San Francisco to pursue a career in writing and hopefully, make enough money to send home to help pay for mounting medical bills. Sarah moves into a large house populated by an eclectic bunch of roommates who eke out a living doing whatever they can while looking for the next high. After meeting Alberto, a driven young man looking to expose the truth whenever and wherever possible, Sarah begins writing the Luddite, an underground publication about adventures throughout the city. After losing her job at a café, Sarah accepts a position with an advertising agency representing pharmaceutical companies and with Alberto’s help, sets about revealing the industries secret agendas in the ‘zine as she calls it. What Sarah eventually discovers will shake her perceptions to the core.

Set in the early 1990’s, just as the internet is taking off and startup companies abound, Herz’s unusual, slightly gritty story features a bizarre cast of characters including “vampires”, strippers, artists, addicts and dealers. Yet as diverse as the characters are, each of them struggles with the same issues of love, life, trust, deception and the effects of the internet. Drug trials, Attention Deficit Disorder, corporate greed and fear mongering factor into this occasionally halting tale with an overabundance of music references that may not appeal to all readers.

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