Taming the Telomeres

Taming the Telomeres

A Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - General
390 Pages
Reviewed on 08/22/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

The author won the top, Gold Award in the 2015 Readers Favorite fiction thriller category of the Int'l. Book Award Contest. The thriller Taming the Telomeres was researched for nearly 3 years before completion, and the author drew from his experiences as a trial attorney, and as a Capitol Hill staff assistant before law school. Rick resided in the Washington, DC area in college and law school, when he explored Middleburg, Virginia, Georgetown, and several of the geographical areas that appear in Taming the Telomeres. Taming features the only jet crash survivor Amanda Michaels, and her prominent D.C. trial attorney uncle Andy Michaels.

Shapiro also is an American inventor who designs and invents fold flat wheeled products including wagons, carts and baby strollers.

The author is working on a second novel featuring Amanda Michaels and the value of biological research on the human telomere.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

In Taming the Telomeres by Richard Shapiro, we meet Andrew Michaels, an attorney. A Hemispheres airplane crashes, killing his brother and sister-in-law; only his niece Amanda survives. Amanda has a mild brain injury leaving her with amnesia; she must wear a halo until her bones heal. Andy Michaels is suing the airline on behalf of his niece and several others who lost loved ones. Kent is a volunteer at the hospital. He and Amanda become close. Someone has bugged Amanda’s hospital room. Amanda’s father was a blood biologist and had given Amanda special treatments. The PRC is after her father’s research and the US has a mole. Can Amanda be protected?

Taming the Telomeres is a thriller that hooked me from the beginning. The scene in the introduction was a real attention grabber. Chapter one was filled with tension as the author allowed the momentum to build. Author Richard Shapiro has included plenty of twists and turns. The characters are well developed and the plot flows smoothly from scene to scene. The plot is interesting and falls into the genres of intrigue, mystery, suspense, and a little sci-fi. I really liked the character of Amanda Michaels, although at times she seemed out of control - who wouldn’t be in her circumstances? I enjoyed watching the relationship between Amanda and David grow. Taming the Telomeres is a great read. Author Richard Shapiro has created a tale that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Taming the Telomeres is a fictional thriller based on a true story. R.N. Shapiro reminds us that “fact is stranger than fiction.” Amanda Michaels and her parents are flying to New York to celebrate her 18th birthday. The commuter jet crashes; Amanda is the only survivor. When she wakes up, she has amnesia. Every memory up to the accident is gone. All she recalls are some puzzling pictures from her near death experience. Blowing the doctors away, Amanda heals quickly, making her story a media sensation. New and old friends, and her uncle and aunt rally to help her through her tragedy. However, not everyone is who they seem to be. Amanda needs answers. Everything seems to point to her father’s blood biology research. However, she is not the only one who wants her father’s research. “He who tames the telomere tames cell death.” What will the US government do to defend its biological supremacy? What will others do to steal it? Risking everything, Amanda becomes caught up in a bizarre web of espionage.

R.N. Shapiro writes a sensational story in Taming the Telomeres. I was hooked from the very beginning. The intrigue of a “real life phenomena” woven within a fictional tale is exceptionally captivating. The necessary legal and medical terminology within the plot is intelligently written, aiding, not bogging down the action. Shapiro captures the whole being of his characters; you sense their trauma, despair, passion, intelligence and vulnerability. The main character, Amanda, was written brilliantly. Her coming of age story far surpasses the normal rites of passage into adulthood. As each of the characters develops, you are drawn deeper into the plot. Taming the Telomeres is full of unexpected happenings. The suspense and the action blaze across the pages. Shapiro skillfully paints a tale of espionage; you don’t know who the good guys are from the bad. Mastering the element of mystery, he gives just the right amount of information to heighten curiosity. Maximizing the climax, the story plunges into the falling action, taking the reader into unforeseen depths of denouement. With this much intrigue, how could you suspect such a “horrible, twisted secret?”

Jane Finch

Taming the Telomeres by R.N. Shapiro follows the story of a Hemispheres Airways plane crash. Andy Michaels, a successful trial attorney, is unwittingly involved in discovering that his niece, Amanda Michaels, is the only survivor. Amanda’s survival from the crash and her injuries is remarkable but it turns out there is far more involved. Initially, Amanda can recall nothing about the awful crash or indeed anything prior to the event and doesn’t recognise Andy or her aunt, but she begins to experience a series of flashbacks in the form of near death experiences. In the meantime, Andy finds himself representing the families of the victims of the disaster as he seeks compensation from Hemisphere Airways. Andy’s investigations reveal some disturbing facts relating to the work that Amanda’s father had been undertaking and it’s possible Amanda has knowledge of some biological secrets that someone seems determined to obtain.

This is a fast-paced thriller that starts with action and continues throughout in the same vein. There’s possible espionage, legal wrangles, crime, and deception, not to mention sabotage and subterfuge. This is really edge-of-the-seat stuff and well written. There is a lot going on, but it is all woven well into the story and I found myself unable to put it down. There’s a hint of Grisham with the legal aspects, and a classic thriller format that works very well to create an exciting read. There are a lot of unexpected twists that, coupled with the excellent writing, make an enjoyable read. That author R.N. Shapiro is a lawyer is clear and adds credence to the legal aspects as he has cleverly woven his knowledge into storyline. A splendid read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Jackie Timmons

R.N. Shapiro’s Taming the Telomeres takes readers on a journey that includes trial law, cell biology, international diplomacy, and near neath experiences. Amanda Michaels is a normal high school senior. She is smart, well-liked, plays on the soccer team, has a steady boyfriend, and is the daughter of a brilliant research biologist. But she can’t remember any of that. She is the only survivor of Hemispheres jet crash that took both of her parents and her memory. Amanda’s uncle, Andy Michaels, is a DC trial attorney. In fact, he is the only attorney to bring a 9/11 case against the airlines to trial. Naturally, he represents Amanda and a number of other families of crash victims in a case against Hemispheres. Andy begins to suspect something else is going on when the airline seems to be settling far too easily. Meanwhile, Amanda’s friends turn up some interesting questions about the crash and other events that are happening around her. Did the plane crash have something to do with her father’s research? Who can Amanda trust? Will she ever get her memories back?

Taming the Telomeres is a book full of twists and turns. At first, Amanda seemed to come off as brash and insensitive, understandable given what she had been through, but as the book went on, her kindness and generosity came through. The rest of the characters in R.N. Shapiro’s huge cast were likable and sympathetic, but most of them were still just mysterious enough to keep you guessing about their motives. With cryptic meetings, unidentified characters, and suspicious circumstances, I spent the entire book not knowing who to trust or what would happen next. Some of the scientific and legal talk went over my head but that didn’t affect my understanding of what was going on. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery.

Stefan Vucak

A small airliner crashes, leaving Amanda Michaels as the sole survivor. The problem for the investigators is that she does not know who she is and has no memory of her past. She is told that her parents were killed in the crash, but this has little impact on her. Andy Michaels, a high-powered DC lawyer, learns that his brother Ron is dead and begins a personal investigation. Strange things surround Amanda: her remarkable healing powers, genetic research done by her father, CIA sniffing into everything, Chinese secret service wanting to get their hands on her and her father’s research. There is murder, legal maneuvering, and cover-ups, which finally lead to a shocking revelation.

R.N. Shapiro’s Taming the Telomeres takes the reader on a convoluted journey of a young woman struggling to find her place in a bewildering world where she cannot trust anyone. It is easy to sympathize with her and her psychological problems. R.N. Shapiro spins an elaborate web of intrigue that in parts is perhaps a little too intricate, which made me impatient waiting for something substantial to happen. I enjoyed following the cat and mouse antics by the CIA to safeguard a national security secret from Andy Michaels, but also protect Amanda from Chinese undercover agents. That part of the plot is a little weak, but if you enjoy reading about conspiracies and government secrets, Taming the Telomeres is definitely worth looking at.

Faridah Nassozi

What could be worse than a plane crash that takes the lives of everyone on board, including your parents? How about being the sole survivor of the crash and waking up from a coma with all your memory gone? Well, this is exactly what happened to Amanda when what was supposed to be a shopping trip for her 18th birthday turned into the worst nightmare of her life. While Amanda is recovering and slowly putting her life back together, her Uncle Andy starts piecing together information regarding the crash in preparation for a wrongful death case against the airline. Andy had tried such a case a few years ago when he represented families of victims of the 9/11 plane crash. He never thought that the next time he took such a case he would be representing his own family, so this time the stakes are much higher - but the deeper he digs, the less he likes the answers. What Andy does not know is that he is caught in the middle of an already existing battle between ruthless enemies with limitless power and reach.

Taming The Telomeres by R.N. Shapiro is a one of a kind legal/political/medical thriller that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The novel comprises relatable characters and a very unique and captivating plot set against the background of government conspiracies and cover-ups at the highest levels in the name of national security. I felt sorry for Amanda for having lost all memory of her past life, but at the same time I also felt relief for her; the memory loss in a way helped her cope through the most fragile days just after the accident. This is a deeply emotional story that had me rooting for the good guys to win, although at certain points I could not even tell who the good guys were because of all the twists. Another thing I really liked about the novel was the subtle drawings which gave me an even clearer image of the setting without taking my focus away from the storyline.


I received this book as a give away on Goodreads
this thriller kept my interest up from beginning to end. The only adverse comment I have is that I thought Amanda at times was a little off the wall and that the whole Justin thing could have been omitted and was somewhat of a distraction to the story.

Diane G.

I thoroughly enjoyed Taming the Telomeres. I thought it was quite the page turner. I could not put it down. I wanted more! I was intrigued by the subject matter. From the medical breakthroughs to the legal twists and turns....as the reader you were always in suspense. I lived in the Washington DC area for 25 years so I appreciated the book's setting, which was described beautifully. The author's style is similar to a John Grisham novel; however, I would compare the suspense factor of the book to a Gillian Flynn novel. -Diane G.

Karen F.

What could be worse than surviving a jet crash that kills everyone else on the jet, including your parents? Then, waking up with all your memory gone? The book is a one of a kind medical and biological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat, and when I thought I had it figured out, a few times I was wrong! The author tells a really emotional story, along with some totally unexpected twists. I couldn’t put it down, I lost sleep, and I re-read a few parts. I give it 5 stars and hope there is a next book too!

Leonard Vance

I thought this was an outstanding thriller - twists and turns you never expected; tight, fast moving plot; engaging characters. Reminded me of Tom Clancy in the speed at which it moved. This is right in there with Grisham, Baldacci, and Turow. Had some interesting science - I'm a chemist; but you don't have to be technical to follow it.
Really liked it - I read it straight thru! commend to everyone.

Gina Smith

Wow. What a great book. The plot was very intense and interesting. Amanda Michaels is a teen aboard a plane that crashed, killing everyone else on board including her mother and father. She has no memory from before the crash and quickly discovers that the disaster may have been intentional, to kill her father. Amanda embarks on a quest to try and uncover the truth and along the way is helped by some friends and her Uncle Andy. She uncovers some amazing facts regarding the work her father was doing and all of the agencies involved trying to get a hold of his research. This is a long involved story but I found it very hard to put the book down and couldn't wait to pick it back up again. I cannot wait to read more from this author!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Taming the Telomeres is an amazing story, only bettered by the intro in which the author claims it is based on a true story. I am most impressed with the way the characters are interwoven throughout the story. Good guys become bad guys, bad guys end up being good guys; no one is really who they appear to be, except the main characters, Andy and Amanda Michaels. There were big surprises, and the ending is by no means tidy, which makes it realistic. This book reminds me of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series with its major plot twists and the main characters not knowing the truth until the end. Like the Bourne series, I think this book would be a great movie.


Bravo. Excellent first novel. Keeps you on edge every page until the extraordinary ending. Highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the sequel.


I have read many books about different medical research, but this is by far the best ever. I was hooked from the very first page. The character Amanda was written so well, as were all of them, but you could feel her pain and confusion so well, she seems like you know her. I loved all the espionage and covert operations that were going on. I can't wait for the next book to come out. This is a book that will change your view on a lot of things you ever wondered if it could really happen. I highly recommend this book.

Genell R.

I hated to have it end. What an amazing novel. The characters were so real. The plots spellbinding. What a talent to create such an exciting, realistic novel. I can't wait for the next book to come out.