To The Brink: Cindy McDonald
The soldiers and military men that enlisted to protect our country, borders and officials from terrorist attacks and even other members of law enforcement have an obligation to keep all Americans safe from harm. But, what would happen if these same people the ones that are supposed to protect are turned into human weapons of mass destruction and become killing machines of the highest or higher caliber of gun? Imagine a serum when injected into the vein of an arm that can create a reaction where the individual loses not only control of some of his/her senses and physical abilities but their minds too. What happens when you no longer respond to normal commands but to the words and voice of a psychopathic killer who claims to be a researcher contracted to finish the job that someone else started but before all is said and done lives will be lost, experiments completed and the results terrifying to anyone that enters the pages of this new thriller by author Cindy McDonald and you the reader will experience what happens to those that are the unfortunate victims and pray that you too not come close not able to handle situations or control your thoughts as you too are pushing yourself TO THE BRINK!
Tess McMillan was married to the man who started this chain of events and thinking after Ballard Crafton’s death she was home free. But, escaping with the dreaded formula, keeping it safe was not going to stop what happened next putting her chance of survival from slim to none. Thinking she escaped Russia where the formula was created and hopping that the notes were destroyed when the lab exploded, unfortunately someone close to Ballard does not believe it is gone and along with his contracted researcher and terrorist in her own right, things are about to get dangerous and frightening not just for her but anyone close to the man now in charge of moving what Ballard started. As Tess realizes she is in danger because several men related to Ballard and his brother August now in charge of this experimental serum and the one who hired the Chinese woman to create the addition to it, she finds herself in need of help and turns to the covert agency First Force for help. Getting there she has to elude those chasing her and when she finally arrives and asks for the one man in charge she is greeted by Dan Garrison the only person left since the rest are on holiday.
August Crafton is a womanizer keeping many at bay doing whatever he wants anytime of the day. Hiring Jingling Choo a Chinese scientist who had worked with Ballard in his laboratory in Russian and is convinced that Ballard would never had kept all of his information in one place and that Tess was the answer. Knowing or thinking that Tess had all of the information he would have kept copies of everything and his notes in the safe in his home. Tess she related to August would have access to it all.
Hearing the voices of both the scientist and August we begin to realize just how dangerous this serum is and the lengths she will go to in order to perfect it and have human trials. With his housekeeper Vatonia keeping things straight and moving in his household he is blindsided when Choo insists that he send one of his girls down to use as the first human guinea pig.
First, let’s see what happens when Tess meets Dan and she relates what has happened and the fact that she needs help to protect her from the thugs on her trail. As Dan and Tess get to know each other playing some type of game with their feelings, they fell into a steady rhythm as they enlisted the help of Clark Rhodes his boss to help them get the flash drive to him and hopefully create a new identity for Tess. But, not everything goes like clockwork and the men that wanted her managed to come in an kill Boo his precious dog changing everything and making the stakes even higher for them both. When Jingling decides she has the answer to their problems she requests that Christina be sent to her. What we witness as she is injected with the serum is horrifying realizing that she might not survive what is being done to her. Not that Jingling cared and when finding out her husband was arrested for going after Tess, she really did not care. She is coldhearted and unfeeling. People matter little to her as we hear her command Christina when she finally awakens, tired, scared and her breathing not quite right but when Gina comes down to see what is next the order to kill her proves that Christina is under her control. But, for how long. As she finally awakens to what she has done and teams up with Vatonia to try and escape and hopefully survive.
Dan and Tess have it all planned out as she makes her way to meet Clark and give him the flash drive but not before making sure that he has everything in place and she is ready and packed up. But, the author shows us what happens when the best-laid plans go awry and someone finds Tess and you can imagine the end result as she is now taken prisoner by August. With his henchmen hoping to be redeemed little do they know that they have also been double crossed and getting their money they will be lucky to get out alive.
Tess is strong and brave but what happens when she comes face to face with Jingling and what happens when Dan is her next subject? Can she save herself and will the First Force Team get there in time to get Dan out since his condition is critical? Dan goes rogue and puts himself in danger as we realize the seriousness of this serum called XM 11. Imagine if this continues and she succeeds in making all those that are protecting others human weapons and worse. When push comes to shove Jingling does not care about the fate of her husband, August or anyone else as she and Tess come face to face in a standoff that will leave only one standing but which one?
An ending that is quote thought provoking as Tess has to make a decision that will change her life. Will she remain with the First Force and stay with Dan? Will she walk out and never look back? Will Dan survive and become whole again? Will he need retraining as we once again meet Rayne who is the medical doctor for First Force and who has the skills we hope to cure Dan and bring him back to life? What will happen to the serum? Will it be destroyed or will Jingling win and use it on others? Author Cindy McDonald delivers a novel with many moral issues and values as you the reader have to decide should Jingling succeed would you agree with what she intends to do? What would happen if this came to pass? Would or could it be used to fight terrorists by controlling what our soldiers are capable of doing? If someone made them super human and controlled their minds would they fight a battle the right way or would they become the enemy too?
Tess McMillan makes her choice and Dan has to find his way back. Will they find it together? Read TO THE BRINK and learn just who survives and who fall to the edge of margin or on the verge of a crucial or critical point in a situation beyond which a catastrophe cannot be avoided.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine