Black Rain: Matthew Delaney
Imagine living in a world where there were people that were genetically created in order to do the thing that most of us would prefer not doing. Some that clean your houses, serve you your meals, while others are enlisted in areas related to domestic chores, industrial, social and guards. Every step of the way these gen-engineered artificial humans called Synthates allow you the natural or human to perform your job and create a world that suites what you want to do. Meet Jack Saxon who has a life filled with money and anything he wants compliment of his step-father George the head of Genico. The company is the largest provide of gen-engineered medicines to cure diseases and genetic disorders. These gen-engineered meds are called Samps. However, Jack’s troubles are just about to begin as George requests that if and when he retires he takes over the company. Phillip is a playboy, cavalier and loves to party and when we meet him again he is at a party and Jack has to coax him away to come to work. Work, means little to him and his state of mind questionable as he is jealous of Jack and has deals with others that could take down the company. Pancrease is declining and more will get pancreatic cancer and his deal with a world leaders could ruin it all if he does not find a way to make the Samp for this illness work. What he buys and sells is not stocks and businesses but these genetically engineered people. Phillip’s goal or primary goal is to make sure he has enough cocaine to last a whole night and make sure that Jack never runs the company. To do this he has to make sure that he provides a way to poison everyone against him by staying that Jack is not a nature but a Synthate passing as human. While George insists Jack attend the Games and not voice anything about the Synthates and the programs he devised, Jack does not know it but he is about to be condemned to die in the Games because he is no longer a spectator but a player. Meeting with someone close to his father and learning that he would not be his successor sends Phillip in motion to try and destroy Jack. If Jack is sent to the Games he might lose his life and then become a slave as other Synthates are. Making life more difficult his wife becomes a casualty too.
As we listen to the police in charge of the murder investigation of Reynolds just what does this have to do with Black Rain a plague that killed many naturals or disables them? Synthates cannot be stricken with this they are immune.
As we hear more about the death of the genetic scientist and learn that there is a cure for Black Rain and he found it why are they not using it and what do they have to gain by killing off more people. With the Games that are used to eliminate Synthates and claiming they release Black Rain and this is their punishment we hear Jack as he is approached by one called Night Comfort sent there to ease his tension and give him so social fun. But, Jack has morals and although she knows she has a mission instead of having sex wit her they sit and talk and he hears the voice of one expressing what others would not dare to say. In order to naturals or humans to exist they all must live within a society. But this is like Darwin’s survival of the fittest and the society they live in is violent and there is little or no human morals or values and the fact that punishment is their answer leads to wondering how they will ever have a stable society or place to live.
While Phillip joins the ranks of the other side and is told that although Jack wants him to run the company together with him, he is warned by others that have controlling interests in the company that it would no benefit them and that they need a plan to rid themselves of Jack. As Dolce his wife tells him the news of the impending birth of his son things should take on a different tone but they don’t. Imagine living in a time where there are genetically modified humans or naturals and medicine and cures for diseases conditions that we do not have today? Treating these Synthates as slaves giving them positions in life that when their time is up they simply expire, is creating a world that is mechanical, orchestrated and controlled by the higher few. The villains you will meet are more dangerous or as dangerous as the ones that are terrorizing us in our world today. Think about 9/11 and think about the end result and think about what will happen in the future if this world really did exist. During the Civil War the blacks had no rights and there are many countries where the people have no rights and cannot voice their opinions neither can Synthates.
The author allows readers to understand the true nature of the lives of Synthates and how Jack is now leading that exact life having to participate in the dangerous games but with the help of Regal Blue it might survive. As he is dealing with this someone out there is hopefully looking for him and will find him but is this person an ally or a foe? Jack is smart but when he meets Charles Arden the detective in charge of finding out what happened to the Reynolds he takes me to places where he is not allowed but having him find out information just might lead him to his own death. Added in we learn more about the deadly Black Rain plague that has killed many of the Synthates and the drugs or SAMPS that are supposed to save lives but does not. Even as you hear the news and learn of research being conducted to cure diseases a simple pill might be a way of slowing it down but a definite cure is usually out of the question so even with drug companies in our world it is more profitable for them to find a drug to treat the disease on a long term or forever basis.
As the Naturals are there to run the world and make sure only the right Naturals get the cures Jack finds himself inside pleasure houses, dealing with crushers and guards and before the end things will spiral totally out of control.
While Jack and Arden break into Genico and find what they hope is the cure for Black Rain a harsh realization comes banging down on Jack when he learns what the information he has does not for him but for someone else. Lies, betrayals, family disloyalties, deaths and two brothers that find themselves on opposite poles of the universe as a murder at a costume party envelopes and expands to taking someone’s life away from him and giving him a taste of what someone else feels he deserves. As Phillip takes his coke and other drugs and Jack loses his life as he knows it, Jack now considered a Synthate might find himself sold to someone who either needs a domestic, industrial, social or guard to fill a position that no one who is a Natural wants to do. As we have laborers here today that do the tasks most do not want to do consider that as we learn more about Synthates.
Enter the arena and join in the gladiatorial games where famous battles are fought or reenacted by Synthates who are fighting for their lives for the total entertainment of the Naturals and the public. Not rights, enslaves and no voice is that fair? These genetically created people will suffer unless that rise up and take over. Meet Night Comfort who is sent to help Jack or White Opal another slave.
As Jack and Night Comfort and several others decide to take matters into their own hands she manages to take out the Chief of SFU and when he awakens finds himself exactly where Jack left off. Can he now survive the games and what will Night Comfort do the ID’s she now has that allows her to pass as a Natural? But, she is into art and attending something at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stealing a Renoir and you won’t believe how she blinds everyone and then Outback takes a valuable violin can they get out before the crushers come and what will their final fate be?
Everything is not what it seems and when Jack faces off with Phillip some harsh realities come into place as he finds out the truth behind the death of Reynolds, who created the Black Rain and why and the reasons why even today science doesn’t want cures they want temporary fixes that cost millions of dollars for the pharmacies to profit. Who really created Black Rain? Was it the Synthates or someone else? Who was really meant to rule the world Naturals or Synthates? What is George Saxton’s real goal or mission for Jack? What startling revelations does the author hand Jack at the end so that he understands his future? What would you do if you could live forever but almost but not quite as yourself? What would you do if there were two of you and one living somewhere and you nowhere near? How far would you go to keep your past and yet focus on the future? Author Matthew Delaney takes readers inside a world that is not quite like our own where the strongest and most clever survive and yet a caste system so vividly created and a group of genetically created humans that might outfox, out fight and outlast the Naturals or Humans or will they? An ending that will let you know that there might be more to come if Jack lives or is his life just beginning? Who and What is Jack Saxton? Find out when you read Black Rain but be careful not to get too close!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine