Sunday, August 24, 2014

SWEETNESS #9, A Novel by Stephan Eirik Clark

“….what are the most popular flavors for snack foods?....Those that overwhelm the taste buds and disappear almost immediately. Sounds a little like the digestive equivalent of crack, doesn’t it?” 
–Priscilla Leveraux

David Leveraux is employed with Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials as a Flavorist-in-Training and testing a sweetener for human consumption including unauthorized home testing with his wife Betty. David consumes the sweetener twice per day as his wife consumes the sweetener no less than five time a day as does David’s close friend and associate named Ernest.

The laboratory rats and monkeys being monitored begin deteriorating and succumbing to various illnesses and death related to the artificial sweetener. David returns to the lab one evening to discover the monkey’s weight gain increase rapidly causing obesity but the next morning replacement animals represented are thin in physical appearance and he is led to believe hallucinations from stress and overwork are the results and ultimately causes David’s release from his position.

David notices changes in the behavior of his family and relates the changes to the consumption of Sweetness #9 that are similar to the laboratory animals testing results. Complicating matters further, David’s daughter Priscilla decides to write an expose in her school newspaper regarding processed foods to include Sweetness #9 but how will David handle the expose and his involvement in the creation of Sweetness #9 with its side effects and his family’s life hanging in the balance?

You will not perceive food the same again after reading this suspense drama as seen through the eyes of a fictitious chemical Flavorist engineer. With a little scene editing, this novel would lean toward superb and recommended to drama, suspense, and family relationships booklovers. Worth the read!

I received this book from Little, Brown and Company through the Net Galley reviewer program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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