Book Review: Aldo by Dr. Betty Jean Craige

By AARON PARRETT

If you like mysteries and you’re interested in the ethical problems posed by rich billionaires who would like to control research at public universities, Betty Jean Craige’s newest book, Aldo, is just what you’re looking for.

After a long and successful career in academia (Craige was a Professor of Literature at the University of Georgia for more than 30 years), she retired and started writing mysteries for Black Opal Books. Her latest is a thought-provoking humdinger, involving domestic terrorists who kidnap a university president to try to halt genetic research.

The Plot

The kidnapping goes tragically awry, and the pace of the novel ratchets up as the perpetrator scrambles to stay one step ahead of authorities and researchers trying to figure out who the terrorists are.

The heroine of the book, Isabel Canto, is the director of Atlantic University’s Institute for Genomic Modification, which is meanwhile under threat from terrorists of another sort: rich donors who would like to control the direction of scientific research.

The controversy at the heart of the novel sparks tension among the principal characters and illustrates one of the actual major crises in higher education and the public’s misapprehension of what science is and involves.

At the center of the controversial research is Dr. Linus Winter, Isabel’s mentor, and a scientist of Galilean resolve who eloquently explains what happens when scientific research is suppressed or impeded in the name of religious concern.

Drawing from Real Life

As Betty Jean Craige is an emerita professor from one of the country’s premier research institutions, she is able to draw on her impressive network of friends and professional acquaintances to concoct a thrilling mystery based on the actual current state of genetic research and computer forensics.

It so happens there’s a love story happening simultaneous to all of this, but Craige keeps that pleasant distraction in the background until the moment is right for revelation — but I must stop here before giving away the plot. MSN

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