Double Helix

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Double Helix, published in 2004 by Dial Books, is apparently a book. With a title like “Double Helix,” though, it could just as well be a C-grade medical drama, which isn’t far from the truth. This thing is BAD.

The story centers around Eli, a super-nerdy High School kid with a girlfriend. His mother is very ill, and he has never been close to his father. This is how they set up co-stars in big action films before they kill them. You think: “Oh, how touching! How could I not care for this poor person?” But deep down inside you know you don’t. As unfortunate or relatable as Eli may be, he’s made of cardboard and I couldn’t care less about him. Sorry, Eli.

After having too much to drink, Eli sends an e-mail to an award winning geneticist, demanding a job at his office building: “Wyatt Transgenics.” Much to his surprise, the man himself, Dr. Quincy Wyatt, grants Eli a college-level job. And Wyatt knows Eli’s mom, who is very sick at the moment. Eli’s father strongly disapproves of this job (okay, he hates it), because he knows Dr. Wyatt, too. As the story progresses, the father repeatedly refuses to tell Eli why Dr. Wyatt is such a bad man, because the truth is so evil it can not be spoken! Even though he’ll let his own son work for an unspeakably evil man. Having so many strange details ties the whole story in a knot. I think it was supposed to create suspense, but it ended up feeling confusing for no good reason.

The whole book is pretty much a couple of characters getting upset with each other until the truth finally comes out. You can even guess how Eli will uncover the deep dark secret from pretty early on. You don’t follow a lab rabbit all over the building until you discover a supply closet that’s really an elevator that leads to a basement floor that doesn’t exist for nothing. The worst part is that for the elevator to work, it needs a special card key. Eli just walks away and scratches his head. Really, why did that have to happen? It’s obvious that down that elevator shaft is the grand climax, which is put on hold while the characters randomly yell at each other for another hundred-plus pages until Eli discovers a trusted person with a card key (his sister). The author should have let Eli move the elevator with his super nerd powers, or something. You can hack an elevator, right?

I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll tell you that it was lame and kind of abrupt. Overall, there were no major plot twists, and there wasn’t much entertainment value. It was the world’s worst “Law and Order.” I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone for any reason, because it doesn’t know its own purpose and it’s filled with cheese.





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