In The Target List, John Reizer writes a short, bewildering and yet underwhelming novel about the well documented corruption and misdeeds of the American pharmaceutical industry, and the extreme steps that must be taken in order to stop the industry from its continuous profit off of medicine and disease. Clyde Daniel and Donna Sawyer are inventors of the revolutionary all-curing WAND device, and as FDA approval finally comes, they find themselves in a race for their lives against their evil Big Pharma enemies. This story is an action dramatic comedy, written in the traces of a Shakespearean comedy, in which a couple of well-intended main characters have everything go wrong in a dramatic encounter of opposing forces, only to have it end happily with a strongly underlined morale. However, it doesn’t seem as though this story was intended to be written in such a way, as it starts off quite dark and dramatic with some shady characters taking the front of the story at times.
Reizer’s writing is simple and unencumbered, and generally flows quite smoothly. Nonetheless, this book is in need of an additional round of editing, as there are some slight grammatical errors and repetition and therefore redundancy in phrasing, and bounces a bit strangely between formal and informal speech. The main characters lack depth and Donna lacks any personality at all; she is written only as a filler for the main character to concern himself with. There is an overarching lack of urgency in the dialogue between characters, which is quite notorious given their always pressing situation, and therefore the story is marked with a lack of plausibility regarding both characters and action. This is furthered by the general lack of description.
This novel was written with the intention of warning healthcare consumers not to place too much trust in their prescription medicines and the advice of their doctors, as the medical industry is funded and propagated by the pharmaceutical industry, which does not have the intention of curing disease and aiding patients but in further developing the general need for drugs by adding complementary drugs to already misconstrued diseases. This, in itself, is a very good premise to write a book on, and the need for this problem to be addressed by literature and the arts is sorely needed. It has been documented and the harmful consequences remarked upon already in contemporary non-fiction, such as in Jon Ronson’s successful The Psychopath Test (2011) and Ben Goldacre’s I Think You’ll Find It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That (2014). However, this novel goes even beyond the (legitimate) claim that many diseases remain uncured because of their insurance and marketing profits, and additionally claims that there are no such thing as diseases, only states of “ease” and “dis-ease”, and that modern medicine, such as vaccines, only stops the body from naturally curing its own state of “dis-ease” and “in reality, there are no diseases in existence” (author’s note). Naturally, this view can only come from an extremely privileged position of not actually having any life-threatening or auto-immune disease oneself and not having to deal first-hand with medicines that make the difference between life and death, or even torturous and complicated living. Additionally, the book is inaccurate as to current methods of testing, such as blood testing or glucose monitoring, and chooses to conveniently ignore mass testing methods such as sensors. This quite privileged view calls modern medicine a “pseudo-science” and as the hazardous consequences of the modern anti-vacc movement, which this book is affiliated to, have been well chronicled, the warning from an alternative medicine provider must be read within a much larger cultural context. As well, Reizer never goes further than the initial claim that medicine caters only to financial profit instead of people, and therefore his argument, although correct and not all that controversial, falls on the superficial side, and the further claim that no diseases currently exist without more proof than this initial statement is just a blatant loss of objectivity.
This book would have had an honourable intention of dissuading people from really trusting in their drugs and their doctors in order to place healthcare onto the bigger scheme of Big Pharma insurance and marketing manipulation. Instead, it chose to take it further and discredit all modern medicine in its every form. Reizer’s writing was already weak, but with lack of reliable content, this book is nothing but an admittedly entertaining if misleading text on modern pharmaceutics.
A literature postgraduate. I'm very passionate about all kinds of literature and film. I enjoy editing, reading, and writing creative and informative content to the best of my abilities. Originality, vision, insight, and entertainment are priorities for me. #Scifi, #travelogues, and #earlymodern