Gargoyles by Alan Nayes

January 1, 2006
Written by
 

 

 

Gargoyles
Alan Nayes

TOR
1/01/06
Trade Paperback/376 pages
ISBN: 0-765-34056-9
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"As fantastic as the uncoiling plot at first appears, what he [the author] proposes is all too possible and very likely real."

"All in all, Gargoyles has the best elements of a good horror novel."

". . . readers will stumble over the clinical jargon. . ."

Science has pushed back the frontiers of life and death, delving into the very heart of the building blocks of life. It was such dabbling that toppled Atlantis — or so the story goes.

Amoreena Daniels''s mother is dying. The specter of breast cancer haunts the brilliant medical student. Her mother''s health insurance has just run out. Juggling MCATs, her studies, a plum research assignment, and anxiety over how to pay for chemotherapy is almost more than Amoreena can manage. She has run out of options and prayers until Ramona Perez offers enough money to solve her financial problems. All Amoreena has to do is allow the ultra modern Women''s Clinic to rent her body for a few months to carry an anonymous couple''s child. Fitting a surrogate pregnancy into Amoreena''s busy schedule is a small price to pay to keep her mother alive. Amoreena doesn''t realize she will have to deal with more than she bargained for.

As the pregnancy progresses, Amoreena senses something is wrong. Dreams trouble her nights as the faces of other surrogates at the Women''s Clinic prowl during the day. The dire warnings of a drug-addict who was once a brilliant medical student begin to take on the force of reality. Something is wrong with her pregnancy. Amoreena suspects she isn’t carrying a human child and that her life is in danger.

From the pressure cooker arena of the university to the high wire tension of the chemotherapy ward, Alan Nayes gets it right in Gargoyles. His prose moves fluidly from the pristine, normal every day world to steaming jungles, where science has moved from the light and into the darkest subterranean depths, as though he is intimately acquainted with both. As fantastic as his uncoiling plot at first appears, what he proposes is all too possible and very likely real.

Readers may stumble over his clinical jargon, however, wondering if they are listening to a tale of madness told to a room full of doctors. Even characters not engaged in medicine speak familiarly of left lower quadrant pains and palpating abdomens. Nayes forgets to lower the bar for his readers and some of his characters. All in all, Gargoyles has the best elements of a good horror novel. Moreover, it has plausibility and the ring of truth. The reader will have to suspend very little disbelief.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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