Reviewed by Molly Martin
The Rasner Effect
by Mark Rosendorf
L & L Dreamspell
ISBN 978-1-60318-084-9, January 29, 2009
Mark Rosendorf’s The Rasner Effect opens with chaos. Jake Scarberry listened to the panicked screams of civilians running for their lives all along the expressway. The explosion had caught them all unaware. When Jake awoke a week later it was to learn that his mercenary work had ended. Worst luck. Former special ops Jake had turned to mercenary activities when his military unit was disbanded. Across town Rick Rasner too awoke, he felt groggy and confused. Across the room sat a doctor, however, Rick was not in a hospital. A prototype microchip implanted in Rick’s head is projected to manage his vicious, aggressive behavior, as a side affect memories of his past life are all but destroyed.
Seven years later Jake toils at a dead end job cleaning the messes in a frat house as a member of the witness protection program, and Rick is set to begin work as a therapist at the Brookhill Children’s Psychiatric Residence. Jake remembers his former life and pines for it, Rick can remember little if anything of his prior to awakening in that room where a doctor sat.
The narrative weaves an interesting, convoluted tale which travels chapter by chapter featuring first Jake and his discontent and Rick and his work at the psychiatric facility. Interspersed is the remnant of the Duke Organization. This assassins group was begun by Jake’s old special ops compadre Col Duke. Jennifer Duke has been searching for Rick from the fateful day the organization set off that vicious explosion that destroyed much of New York, and changed Rick’s life so completely. When a Duke operative, computer expert Derrick, locates Rick the remnant of the organization regroups, treks to the facility and all hell breaks loose.
Filled with action, trepidation and anticipation from the opening lines; The Rasner Effect is a compelling read start to finish. Brutality, bridge explosion, loss of memory, diabolical director of a children’s facility, a top secret military experiment, the witness protection program, growing bond between therapist and teen patient, a hostage situation, an abduction, death, carnage and a destructive fire which may or may not have destroyed the body of any one inside, debriefing with a pain in the neck General and return to the witness protection program all serve to forward the complex tale.
The Rasner Effect is a multifaceted psychological thriller peopled with convincing characters, packed with gritty, pithy discourse all set against a backdrop of trickery, maneuvering and danger. The outcome of this narrative may surprise readers, and will indisputably cause reader speculation re who really is the good guy, and who is not. Leaving the question of death or not, of one major figure in that devastating fire coupled with a certain understanding that another of the major players is left alive at the end of the book leads to conjecture whether or not a sequel may be in the future. I hope there is.
Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher