Clinical Trials by Daniel Steven is a surprisingly good legal thriller from the late 1990s. I used to read legal mysteries and thrillers back in the day, but then my tastes changed a bit and I haven’t read a book in this genre in quite some time.
As I’ve been reading lots of books on my iPad the last few months, I’ve decided to tackle some of my paperback books as well and I picked Clinical Trial because I liked the cover, hoping for a good medical thriller. Much to my surprise, while it was taking place in the medical world, the novel was a fun legal thriller that kept me at the edge of my seat pretty much all the time.
The story evolves around Dylan Ice, a mixed race relatively new lawyer who is given his first assignment of his own: to win the case for assigning legal guardianship for Nicole Girard to her parents. Nicole seems quite mentally unstable due to HIV induced dementia and she can no longer take care of herself or decide things on her own. While Dylan has his doubts about the health state of Nicole (she does seem awfully coherent and intelligent for a person with dementia), he easily wins the case in court.
Soon after, however, Nicole dies apparently from complications due to her illness. And this is where Dylon is thrown into a world of medical trials where he realizes just how important Nicole was. Her blood, apparently, is one of the extremely rare types that can keep AIDS in check. And sadly way too many people want what she has to unwillingly offer.
The book is really a page turner, one that keeps you glued to its pages until the very satisfying end. Many things are not as they seem, and Dylon soon realizes that being a hot shot lawyer might not be what it is cracked out to be.
Dylon is a fun character that is quite well developed in the book. He has a heavy baggage of problems. From a very early age he became the legal guardian to his sister who is a handful by herself as well. He had to give up a lot of fun things during his early years and his life was not a walk in the park either. His mother was a heroin addict who died when he was young, and his father, a real hippie, went to the hippie land to live alone in wilderness with his two dogs.
Nicole is a character that I’d have liked to read a bit more about. We only get a few glimpses in her past, with a marriage to a man and an unlawful marriage to a woman. She is quite a complex character that could have been a bit more fleshed out.
As legal thrillers go, this was a typical of its kind, with all the stereotypes evolving around fresh lawyers working hard to become partners in the law firm, only to realize at some point that life has so much more to offer than that.
Overall, a very pleasant novel that left me wanting to read until I finished the last page. There were some surprises along the way that I didn’t see coming.
If you like legal mysteries, Clinical Trials is a good book to pick up and read. Currently the paperback edition is only available from third parties, but is available on Kindle at Amazon to download right away.