The Apotheosis

Fiction - Science Fiction
362 Pages
Reviewed on 05/09/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

By day, I am a software engineer. I have worked on NASA's manned space flight program, including the Space Shuttle, Houston Mission Control Center, and Kennedy Launch Control. Currently I work on assorted software systems and payloads for the International Space Station program which require testing at the Marshal Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

By night I am a writer, secluded in my home office with a wife that softly brings me snacks and falls asleep on the couch waiting for me to go to bed. I am a member of the Houston Writers Guild and the Houston Writers House.

My wife and I reside in Houston and enjoy all that the big city has to offer: restaurants, ballet, symphonies, plays, and Astros baseball games. We also enjoy time at our lake house, a warm and cozy space on the shore of a lake nestled among tall pine trees. On the weekends and holidays we spend there, we enjoy summer afternoons fishing on the water and crisp fall mornings walking in the woods.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In The Apotheosis by Darrell Lee, when Dr. John Numen’s father dies suddenly he inherits a major stake in a successful pharmaceutical company. Using the company as a cover, John Numen begins his own medical research which could change human life as we know it. As the decades pass, John discovers the meaning of abandonment by those close to him but also true unconditional love. His research and his plan to boost his wealth even further takes him down a morally disturbing path. Following a series of devastating events, he finds himself on the run from the FBI. There is now no turning back and John is determined to see his experiment through, no matter who has to suffer, in the name of progress. Follow John through many decades and continents as he tries to master his life’s work and get his retribution before the FBI can stop him.

This science fiction thriller will hook you from the first page. The suspense throughout this fast-paced plot will always keep you in anticipation. The medical jargon is just enough to understand and enjoy the story but it is clearly very well researched. John Numen is a disturbed character who believes his macabre work is for the benefit of mankind. Whether he is a villain or a misunderstood hero will be for the reader's belief system to decide. The tangled web of deceit and corruption in the story is woven throughout with nail-biting conflict. Not often does a novel make you question your own values but this one did mine. Each of the characters was well created and three-dimensional, especially Irina, a strong-minded fighter with a fierce attitude towards the cold-blooded and callous Roman. The hunt by the FBI at the end had me on the edge of my seat, followed by an excellent twist that was absolutely masterful.

Christian Sia

Boston-born John Numen is a Harvard trained scientist with a focus on contemporary genetics, biochemistry, and molecular, cellular, and mechanistic biology. He is a billionaire investor with unique skills in manipulating those around him, and he is about to manipulate the entire world. He is about to change the world, developing a technology only he alone understands, one that can help him fulfill his dream of immortality. But what will it cost humanity and can someone stop him before he unleashes the most powerful threat on humanity? From the very first pages, the protagonist offers readers insights into what he is: “I don't know how many people you have to murder to qualify as a serial killer, but if my plans go as I hope, I will meet that number sooner or later.” He considers killing merely collateral damage in the advancement of science. But what is his end game? What does he really want to happen?

The Apotheosis by Darrell Lee blends the first and third person point of view to allow different perspectives of the narrative to emerge. The author uses the protagonist’s journal, written as a form of insurance, to build the plot, deepen character, and build the conflict. The characters are real —John Numen, Dr. Ethan Shinwell, Dr. Jones, and a host of others — and the conflict is phenomenal. The Apotheosis is one of those books that explore the anatomy of human greed and how far an insane mind will go to achieve sinister goals. The Apotheosis by Darrell Lee would make a great science fiction thriller on screen. Darrell Lee’s writing is fluid and confident and the story is filled with surprising turns that make it hard to put down.

Ruffina Oserio

The Apotheosis by Darrell Lee features a sophisticated protagonist, a very brilliant scientist and doctor, a billionaire investor about to sink the world for his own selfish ends. John Numen kills, manipulates his family and the scientific world, and dreams of using the power of his new technology to pursue immortality. A character-driven story that follows the life of a Harvard-trained scientist, a serial killer who is remorseless and who will crush anything that stands in his way. From the very beginning, he cautions that he may become the world’s worst serial killer with the highest body count, and he sees every murder as collateral damage. Can someone stop him?

Darrell Lee introduces a character that readers will want to follow, one of the monsters of the literary world. I loved the creativity in the narrative which allows the story to be told from the point of view of the protagonist and a third person narrative. John Numen’s diary, which he keeps as a sort of insurance, allows readers revealing insights into his psyche. Character development is impeccable and the first person narrative is strong enough to unveil the different psychological elements of the protagonist. The plot is fast paced and readers will enjoy the exploration of the scientific community. One is certain that The Apotheosis is well researched. The writing is gorgeous, filled with strong and vivid descriptions and punctuated with dialogues that read like realistic conversations. This novel is a great meld of sci-fi, horror, and adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat!

Romuald Dzemo

Readers have encountered literary monsters like Frankenstein and Hannibal Lecter, sick characters whose existence puts the life of humanity at great risk. In The Apotheosis, Darrell Lee introduces readers to another monster, though fictional, and they will find out what he represents in the history of humanity. The name is John Numen, a very gifted scientist, a self-taught programmer, a man who has engineered a unique technology and he is about to use that technology for selfish ends. The cost could be very high for humanity. Can someone stop him?

The narrative starts with musings from the protagonist, a candid, unapologetic presentation of himself — he is a Harvard trained PhD holder with core training in contemporary genetics, biochemistry, and molecular, cellular, and mechanistic biology. He is driven. He is intelligent. But he is a serial killer and he doesn’t regret being one. From the moment readers encounter him, they are intrigued to follow this compelling, sophisticated, and 3-dimensional character. John Numen has a strong charisma to manipulate others — from family to peers — but his agenda is what will surprise readers.

The narrative is done in a very creative manner, allowing the protagonist to tell his story and reveal his master plan through his journal, while looking at a third person point of view from a narrator. Readers will notice the differences in the tone and the author’s skillful use of irony, which makes for an interesting read. The Apotheosis is intensely emotional, a story with psychological depth and characters that are engaging and real. John Numen is the archetype of human greed and perversity, a character that represents the extreme side of human hunger.

Jamie Michele

The Apotheosis by Darrell Lee is the story of Dr. John Numen, a 40% stake holder in the pharmaceutical company founded by his late father and run now by a biochemist, Dr. Ethan Shinwell. Through his own legacy, John is able to set up a laboratory on the same property and with some company funding for his own research...although what exactly that research is remains an exercise in smoke and mirrors, as John micromanages his lab and all who have access to it. John's resources and ambition rival each other in their vastness; he's a brilliant billionaire who aspires for power and athanasia, whatever the cost. And the cost for his family, all those around him, and society as a whole is incalculable.

Darrell Lee delivers the suspenseful tale of Dr. John Numen's insatiable appetite for immortality with the skilled hand of a master storyteller. The Apotheosis shifts in narrative between Numen's point of view through a third-person present tense to future journal entries that shed light on a tortured genius and come to a head with an unexpected twist. Although this is a science fiction thriller, Lee avoids the pitfalls of peppering in medical jargon and is able to make the material believable and understandable (even for a reader like me). Two heartbreaking moments in the first third of the book establish Numen as an antihero and the restraint shown in developing Lee's characters, eschewing black and white, good vs evil, allows for their complex and fully-fleshed personalities to become larger than life. Who do we root for? That's up to the reader to decide. Highly recommended.