28th October 2015: Blog-Tour: The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom

On the 28th of October I will be looking forward to welcoming Michael Ransom and his book The Ripper Gene to the blog, as part of the ongoing blog-tour for his intriguing book.

Featuring my review and hardcover giveaway of the The Ripper Gene!

About the book:

A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a gene that produces psychopaths in this thrilling debut novel.

Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial “damnation algorithm” that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.

Now, a new murderer—the Snow White Killer—is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden’s former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer’s mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders—and have a chance at ending the psychopath’s reign of terror.

I hope you will pop by to find out all about The Ripper Gene.

Bloodhound: Searching for my Father by Ramona Koval


You can definitely feel and read Koval’s career or literary background in this book. Her thirst for answers, searching in every nook and cranny, and not leaving any stone unturned. Even stones that have nothing to do with anything at all.

It isn’t just her quest to find out who her father is, it is also the search for answers in her parents, and would be parents past. Learning about their personal journeys before, during and after the Holocaust.

The way people, who have lived through the Holocaust, differentiate between Holocaust survivors and Holocaust refugees. Most importantly how each one of them has changed, due to the traumatic experiences in the time of mass extermination and expulsion of Jews and other persona non-grata before and during World War II.

The psychological trauma, post traumatic stress and emotional scars are there, but the layer of silence they have laid upon themselves, makes healing almost impossible. Then again can you ever forget, forgive or heal from the reality of the Holocaust?

Regardless of whether they have learnt to survive under the most dire and brutal of circumstances or survived outside of the concentration camps, their experiences have changed them forever. The chapters describing the need of survivors to talk after their release from the camps, and then the inability to do so, is just so poignant. Like open-mouthed screams of silence.

I can honestly say I have come away with a lot from this personal journey. Koval presents her personal experience with a strong mixture of historical fact, witness statements, court documents and autobiographical excerpts. I have made a list of books to read, mentioned and quoted from by Koval in Bloodhound.

Kudos to her for pointing the finger at Poland. For some reason their part in the atrocities, always seems to be downplayed, as just being the country where they built concentration camps. The fact that Poland helped the Nazi’s to kill almost all their Jewish population barring a few survivors, and then had the audacity to murder all but a few of the survivors returning from the camps. No, that doesn’t get a enough attention at all.

Although I completely understand her journey and her obsession, and yes I do believe it had become an obsession, I am not sure she completely understood the implications for herself and those around her. Changing the family dynamics by changing what was previously assumed to be the truth about her parentage, and that of her sister.

When she goes deeper into the origins of her DNA ancestry, it has a slight tinge of elitism, which to be fair she does acknowledge. Other than satisfying a base curiosity those results are merely a distraction in her actual pursuit of the truth.

In the end I wonder if the lack of result or confirmation of the truth, whatever that truth may be, is exactly what Koval wanted to achieve. Perhaps not knowing and dwelling on possible scenarios is better than having to accept a truth and reality she would rather not accept.
I received a copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

Synbio by Leslie Alan Horvitz


I think I can safely say that after reading this book I now know a lot about DNA and genetics. Perhaps even more than I would like to know or imagine possible. The use of bio-genetics as a biological weapon of warfare.

If it ever becomes as simple as it seems in this story then I am afraid we have something to worry about. Kudos to the author for simplifying the process and explanations, so that a layman can understand all the science involved.

We see Eugenie find her moral compass and at the same time she is struck by the reality of not being able to do anything to change the plight of others or those in need. It is  interesting to see that contradiction in someone who appears so completely ruthless and jaded.

I think Seth plays the key-role of the scientist confronted by the conundrum most scientists have to face or acknowledge eventually. To discover can also often men holding the key to a potential weapon. Each cure can become a recipe for death, and each new step forward could mean any steps backwards for humanity.

It could do with a little more structure and direction. The development of the main characters suffers a little from the sheer magnitude of the main plot and sub-plots.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.