Death By Design


Fiction - Intrigue
344 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

John Graves’ Death by Design is not a novel for the faint of heart. It tells one of the most detailed stories about humanity’s extinction as orchestrated by a resolute, cold-blooded, and indomitable woman, a field veteran named Tracker. Through a series of well-planned attacks, Tracker aims at eradicating humanity from Earth and the sooner the better. Her plan works and humanity is really on the verge of extinction. However, people reveal unexpected resilience while others are at work to stop the calamities. Dr. Sharon Blake and her team try to find a cure for leukemia and then to save humanity. Will they make it on time?

Death by Design is worthy of admiration from many points of view. On the whole, this is one of the most intelligently developed novels I have ever read. I praise Graves’ extensive knowledge, necessary to write the many scientific passages of the book. I also like the representation of the characters. Tracker is so brilliantly portrayed that she made me shudder with her speeches and actions. On the other hand, her “opponent,” Dr. Blake, is a straightforward person with admirable traits, also because she has her personal fight to win. Furthermore, the development of Tracker’s plan is praiseworthy. Through the increasingly destructive catastrophes, Graves keeps the reader in suspense. He also shows “personal” repercussions on common people, who make their entries just before Tracker’s attacks shatter their lives. This is a delicate and tragic touch of realism. Readers will not be disappointed by Death by Design.

Jamie Michele

Carried out in highly coordinated phases, a trained master combatant, a mercenary, and a tactical genius who has swept almost effortlessly through the Navy SEALs and Mossad, disables balance in the world and severely handicap the CDC. To clarify—these are all the same person. A woman named Tracker in John Graves' novel Death by Design. Hired by a group of eco-terrorists, Tracker is tasked with finally putting an end to climate change in the most extreme way possible: through plague and panic. “She had emerged from Iran, Palestine, and China unscathed, her team unbeaten. Her failure rate was zero.” There is only one tiny group who know how to stop Tracker in her own deadly path, spearheaded by an individual who understands Tracker better than anyone: Mantis.

I thoroughly enjoy a book where a fierce female takes the lead, and Tracker is a complex character that is so deeply psychotic and—am I allowed to say this?—so brilliantly despotic that I absolutely loved her. The love-hate relationship John Graves builds between the reader and Tracker is sublime. Death by Design also features Tracker's arch-enemy, Mantis, who is also a force to be reckoned with. The novel explodes from page one with action, and the race between Tracker and her mission, humanity, and Tracker and Mantis and company to stop Tracker rolls out with the skilled hand of an author who knows how to deliver suspenseful fiction. This is one of the best stories I have read all year and I look forward to seeing what else John Graves has on offer.

Rabia Tanveer

Death by Design by John Graves is the story about a ruthless assassin that is hell-bent on destroying the world as we know it. Tracker is not your usual assassin; she has been trained from a very young age to become what she is today: a heartless monster that craves blood and death. She is the perfect person to hire for a group of environmentalists who have promised to give her an obscene amount of money for 20 years if she manages to handle the climate change issue. Her solution is to kill the human race by viruses and diseases; she has the mentality to do it and she has the money to make it happen. No one knows she is behind this senseless killing, but a group of people is trying their best to save the world. A pair of CASPR scientists, CDC specialists, and Mantis (her nemesis) might be the only people who can stop her. But will they solve the puzzle that Tracker is on time? This is the deadliest battle of all time and standing in the way of survival of the human race is just one woman who can change everything once and for all.

Wow, from the very beginning the author had me hooked. Tracker is such a despicable character yet she is so very intriguing. Even though we read about how she became who she was, we never know why she is like this (makes you wonder how psychotic she has to be). Even though I hated her, she was my favorite character in the novel. Her desire to get the task done, her need to let out her aggression and her simple need to prove that she is the best at what she does add a sense of thrill to the story. This is an action-packed story that is gory, intense and full of massive ticking time bombs so that you cannot help but bite your nails as you read on. I wanted those brilliant minds of scientists, specialists and the freaking ninja of a person called Mantis to hurry up and get her before it was too late! This is a masterpiece!

Asher Syed

Death By Design: I am the Storm! by John Graves is a political and medical action thriller where a cold-blooded assassin by the name of Tracker unleashes infectious diseases and pathogens on the world population. She has been contracted as an agent to stop the destruction of the earth at a cost of $2 billion dollars per year, over the course of 20 years. She doesn't need that long. Tracker sets up unsuspecting “test groups” that range in size and population from the passengers on selected flights to entire cities and countries. In addition to this, the immobilization of worldwide government and health agencies assists in the spread of pandemonium at her own hand. Told in vignettes as contagion spreads, the story zeroes in on the biological ground war as it happens with a bird's-eye view, omniscient narrative.

Death By Design: I am the Storm! by John Graves is special in the genre and encompasses biological warfare in bite-sized increments. Tracker is a phenomenal character who does terrible, horrible things, but so too are those who are bent on stopping her (mostly on account of their own agenda as opposed to trying to save the world). The writing style is reminiscent of Michael Crichton where the “acts” in the novel resemble iterations, which work perfectly with the vignette format. Overall, this is a book that moves swiftly from one catastrophe to the next without the slightest whiff of it smelling contrived. There are many characters and it takes a moment to establish who's who, but once you're in the story—there's no putting it down.

K.C. Finn

Death By Design is a work of mysterious fiction, global intrigue, action, and adventure, penned by author John Graves. At the centre of the tale is Tracker, a woman with a record as deadly as her mind. Highly trained, but now fronting her own operation, Tracker is given an absurd sum of money to solve the climate change equation once and for all, and that means death for some, perhaps even all. Three different teams of opposition set out to stop her in the name of humanity, each with their own skills and motivations for wanting Tracker taken down before it’s too late for everyone.

Author John Graves writes with an impassioned sense of action to create a genuinely page-turning read filled with the most highly skilled heroes and villains - if indeed you can tell a hero from a villain in this complex plot. The premise upon which Tracker sets out on her mission is explained more and more as the plot draws towards its close, with little pieces of intel and chance encounters that set the plot off well amid its numerous action scenes. Fans of works like The Da Vinci Code will appreciate the cultural settings and the grand, all-of-humanity stakes of the game. The development of Tracker herself really holds this novel together, thanks to her intensity and sharp, dangerous behavior. Overall, Death By Design is a well-plotted and atmospheric mystery thriller with plenty of action thrown in, suitable for all readers looking for a near-apocalyptic thrill.