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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
In Roulette by Thomas Locke and Jyoti Guptara, nurse Carol Steen responds to a comatose woman in the hospital, possibly due to a prescription drug party. The patient, stabilized by Dr. Stacie Swann, awakens in a feral state and escapes. Eric Bannon and Sheriff Dewey Steen investigate the dangerous drug Roulette, linking the drugs to Florida raves and suspecting Palindrome, a pharmaceutical company that views Eric as a threat. As the stakes get higher, lives are threatened, people are kidnapped and restrained, there is forced drug exposure, expanded testing of Roulette as a completely different style of serum, and confrontations explode. Putting the pieces together only shows how much further the problem goes and plans to eliminate all who get in the way bubble over. A chaotic battle shifts the dynamics alongside the discovery of influence, connections, and ever-evolving transformations that completely change the game.
There are many moving parts in Roulette by Thomas Locke and Jyoti Guptara, and all of them work wonderfully as the storyline comes together as a whole. There is a large cast of characters, and the authors do really well in fleshing all of them out. I like that Chloe is a ruthless woman who is also intelligent and capable, even if she's not on the A-Team. In fact, I liked her the most out of all the characters, which is a testament to the skill of the writers. The novel is fast-paced, and even though this is a medical thriller that ventures into horror, the inclusion of white-collar grafting is the reason Roulette works and why it is believable. For example, Lauren's desire to expose unethical behavior, coupled with a hospital's willingness to ignore terrible things for the sake of big donors, is a subtle social commentary on corruption within institutions and the power dynamics at play in real life. The dialogue is fantastic, and the action scenes are pitch-perfect. However, the transformations and the underlayer of what exactly is at stake are the very best of the best in literary creativity and writing. Very highly recommended.