No Time To Die: Kira Peikoff
What would you do if you could slow down your aging process? What would you do if your mental age were older than your biological or physical age because something within your chemical or DNA makeup has prevented you from maturing? What would you do if you knew there was a way to find out how to change this, possibly find out what the gene is or mutation that is causing your problem and your parents and others block you because they feel it’s too dangerous, can never happen or just might upset the evolutionary sequence of life.
Dr. Eliot Shipley was working in his lab when someone came in. Instead of wondering just who this person was and asking for any type of ID he managed to get into a conversation, drink some champagne and was supposedly celebrating a breakthrough in science. But, the end result would be tragic, as the lab monkeys that lived within the walls of his lab became not only his captors but also his death. Galileo: Was the name etched within his lab and his mind? Just who was this person and why was he named the killer? No Time To Die: not yet anyway as we move forward and learn about Dr. Helen McNair and her work at Columbia. Helen’s research and work caused a great stir as she was approached and reprimanded by her superior. Professor Adler, the chair of the Biology Department appeared to be against her but along with him came her salvation: Galileo. Many scientists, patients and doctors disappeared and have not been heard from for many years. Why?
Zoe Kincaid was to meet with her doctor to discuss her illness. Her genetic makeup was rare and because of it her physical age would remain at 14 and her mental would mature. As Zoe enters the office of Dr. Carlyle, she learns the hard cold facts that no young person wants to hear. Dealing with not being able to grow, small in stature, smart, intelligent and yet treated as a small child or young teen, Zoe learns that her seizures, her physical appearance and her ability to grow and age might never stop or happen. Even more she is hopeful and concerned about her grandfather thinking that if someone could find the answers to her problem they might be able to stop him from aging and keep him with her longer.
Many would say that death is a part of life and it cannot be stopped. Others hope that immortality might not be far away. As we get to know Zoe better and meet her parents we learn about their prejudices against those who might want to help her, their unwillingness to allow her to be part of a study to try and find out the gene using her DNA to uncover the problem, we realize that Zoe will resort to just about anything in order to succeed. When told that she is to table her feelings and not dare go against her parent’s wishes, she tries to employ the help of one researcher and scientist named Natalie Roy. But, Roy was pre-warned by those she works for at the Justice Department’s Bioethics Committee and its head, Les Mahler. A devious, unhappy, unscrupulous man who will stop at nothing including trying to filter in lies and deceits in order to stop what many others have started. Thinking that Les Mahler has decided that what a group called The Network has created would ruin the balance of our population and too many people would be on our planet. As the author refers to the same problem during the Industrial Revolution and how humans managed to survive, the Network is working hard to find cures for incurable diseases, stop aging in older people and hopefully rejuvenate and speed up Zoe’s so that she can become an adult. Imagine if your DNA and your blood held the secret to human longevity. What would you do if you were Zoe? Galileo is the man behind the Network and although he has many connections and has managed to take not only Zoe but Natalie Roy and her son Theo to safety what we learn is that nothing is perfect, there is no fail safe and that everyone is vulnerable to attack no matter how many safeguards are in place making this novel not only spelling binding, thought provoking, exciting and believable. As she and Natalie and Zoe are taken to the home of Julian Hernandez little do they know that they are being watched and might be found even before entering the compound. Les, back in Washington has convinced not only Zoe’s parents, but also those related to his committee that he is her only hope of rescue but in reality he’s much more. Thinking for his own self-preservation and not really caring about Zoe or her situation, the only way to make this entire problem disappear was to rid the world of Zoe.
When Les decides to send in the Swat Team to search the save house where Zoe and the rest are hiding, the scene is tense, Julian Hernandez tries to cover his fear and after searching they are home free. But, forgetting her medicine caused her to have a seizure and would endanger the group when a new prescription was ordered. When they finally arrive at the compound an eight-person team welcomed her. Talking about their findings, experiments and making everyone welcome letting Zoe and Natalie know that they were important and an integral part of the project. But, just when there might be a major breakthrough once again something might halt their progress when Natalie relates that in order to proceed she needs a DNA sample from Zoe’s parents. Just what Galileo does will definitely surprise readers and endear you to this mysterious man. How he manages to pull it off you need to learn for yourself in order to be in on the sting. When Zoe if finally settled and asks to have a letter sent to her grandfather when she learns the truth about his whereabouts what she does could not only endanger her but everyone else.
Les Mahler is revengeful, resourceful, devious and just plain evil as he relates to the public what he thinks is the true mission of the Network and Galileo. With lives on the line and many who might be able to learn where they are hiding, he attacks and kills a jail guard but not before learning some vital information. A virus that plagues Zoe’s body but can they counteract it to speed up her aging process and can they slow down her grandfather’s? The research into DNA studying and testing as well as RNA is extensive as you learn how they complete their experiments, how the scientists and doctors work as a team and the conclusions that are drawn.
When you read pages 311-314 you will learn a lot about RNA, the virus that is causing Zoe’s aging problem, “ We think the viral RNA causes these maladaptive side effects by inserting its fragments into regions of the genome that control the nervous system as well as aging,” says Natalie. The rest you won’t believe but when you read it for yourself you will understand as Galileo and Natalie bond and other truths come out.
What causes Zoe to bolt? What does Natalie say that she misunderstands? Who is Cylon and why does Les need his help? The research and explanation into hacking into computers is quite extensive and Zoe’s final decision rests on what Galileo tells her. On pages 342-343 the author brilliantly defines aging, what causes everyone to age and telling Zoe that she had unlimited goals, choices to make and overpopulation is not something for her to be concerned about nor does Galileo care about it.
As Les’s scheme and plan to frame the Network and Galileo for several murders appears to be working, Galileo sets out on a plan of his own. An ending that is quite explosive and the final outcome of the experiment you will have to decide. When the compound is located and those inside are in danger who will survive? Will they all get to safety? Why does Natalie go back inside and why does Theo follow her? As Zoe and Theo had begun to bond what does she do to show her loyalty and friendship to both of them?
The final moments are tense when two are captured, could wind up dead and one man’s life is held in the balance. Dr. Mitch Glover is he the mole that reveals everything to Les? What about his assistant Benjamin Barrows? Why does he begin to trust him and enlist his help? A tense final seen and a deception you won’t expect as Natalie, Theo and Zoe’s lives hang in the balance and only one man can save them.? Author Kira Peikoff leaves readers with many unanswered questions: What would you do if you were Zoe? What if someone could slow down your aging process before you reach middle age? What if someone could make you immortal? What about curing deadly and terminal illnesses? The answers might not come full circle but the end result will allow readers to hope that the author will bring back the Network, Zoe, Theo, Natalie and Galileo to give us the answers and possibly the solution. A novel that will make everyone question their mortality, ethic and moral dilemmas as to whether you agree with Les or with the Network and a better understanding of why we age.
Fran Lewis: reviewer