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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fated Genes by Harry Kraus

Dr. Brad Forrest is a pediatric surgeon who is married to his job in his heart and married to his wife on paper. Though he loves his wife and son, he loves his job more and thus spends nearly every waking hour at the hospital. However, this is wearing on his marriage. His wife Julie feels abandoned and decides to look for the love she craves elsewhere. Meanwhile, Brad has been promoted to work with Dr. Web Tyson, a surgeon looking to become the new surgeon general of the US. However, Web is not all he appears to be. With his family life in shambles, he is a partner in an illegal scheme to preform research on aborted fetuses or dead embryos. While this is not entirely evil, it is driving him and his partners to tell lies to the parents about their babies in order to get what they need. Lenore, the instigator of the operation, who doubles as the leader of a Satanic cult, is doing everything she can to control Web.

While all of this is going on, Dr. Matt Stone returns from Kenya with his wife Linda to work a new job alongside Brad and Web, and gets caught up in the mess himself. Everything comes to a head in room 502 of the hospital one night, and only the prayers of Brad's grandmother and her prayer warriors can stop it.

Harry Kraus has sure had a bumpy writing career. He has gone from writing junk like this to writing radical originality such as Perfect. But the mistakes in Fated Genes cannot be easily ignored. The lack of good characters, a victim lead, two evil villains, an evil genetic scheme, the return of Matt Stone, a last chapter conversion, a last chapter reuniting, and a perfect prayer warrior grandmother make for a stressful read to say the least.

The characters are flat out bad. There are the good guys, the bad guys, and confused Brad. While Brad and Julie have their imperfection, they never make any real mistakes as a result of it. The villains are ridiculous, frequently spouting profanity detonated by symbol sequences such as #?!?@. Seeing these symbol sequences on every page can wear one out. Matt Stone is back doing what he did best in Stainless Steal Hearts-absolutely nothing useful. Harry Kraus did a really good job at making him an overused useless character.

There are many plot points it seems like the editor forgot to edit. Julie's affair, Lenore's cult, Web's Sodomite son, Web's relationship with a useless character named Tammy, Matt Stone's involvement, a standoffish group of retired people and a car chase at the end are completely unnecessary and make one wonder what this book was like before it was edited or if it was even edited at all.

Even if all of this nonsense was discarded, it still could not account for the completely perfect end in which Harry went lengths to fix every broken thing. It makes one wonder how Harry made his transition into writing originally at all. But we are grateful that he did so and did not continue writing books that tarnish the name of Christian fiction with such cliched nonsense. Fated Genes makes one appreciate his newer books all the more.

1.5 stars

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