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Toxic Deception

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Loved it! 😍

A great plot and a flawed protagonist who is relatable, sympathetic and flawed. A substrate of science that is topical and interesting.

In Toxic Deception, K.C GIllis gives us a great plot and a flawed protagonist who is both relatable and interesting. He tells us just enough of the potentially complex science involved and covers the business dynamic that drives the plot succinctly and believably. Not too little; not too much of either. 


A red-circled obituary appears at Jordan Reed’s door. A man has died. As Jordan does her job as reporter, things get curious. A promising biotech company is developing several drugs. Maybe one of them killed the man. Jordan jumps to the conclusion that the prior one may have killed her mother, and off we go. This is a proper thriller, so we know early on (too early to give away, I thought) who the bad guy is, and he is a proper entitled jerk. 


Jordan involves bar-owner Travis (“the smartest guy she knew”), a reluctant CDC scientist and an assortment of might-be-good, might-be-bad characters. She slowly teases out the likelihood that a miracle drug may not be as safe as its in-process clinical trial says it is. The path through the science and the need for the trial to go well and support the company’s IPO is nicely parallels Jordan’s slow peeling back of layers of deception.


The story grew on me. The first chapters started the story with a bang, Jordan Reed was an intriguing protagonist, and … there were a host of problems of technique that cried out for a line editor or a good critique group. It’s a straightforward, clean  plot. At over 100,000 words, the book’s too long for the plot. And I saw first novel gaffes … showing an emotion, then nailing it with a tell so the reader will be sure to understand, subtle POV shifts, retelling, cliché characters (Neil, Carter a bit less) and so on. But the strong plot and lead character carried me along. 

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I have been blogging on writing for 3 years, now published first book, a thriller. I have reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon, not on my website, but I would be happy to add a review page. I would rather review adult mystery/suspense/thriller.

About the author

K.C. (Kevin) Gillis is the author of the Jordan Reed mystery series. His professional career travelled through the Canadian Air Force, a decade as a chemist, followed by a long and continuing run in corporate America. Having grown up in the Canadian Maritimes, he now lives in the US northeast. view profile

Published on February 06, 2020

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100000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Medical Thriller

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