Book Review: Purified by Brian Robert Smith

Mason Bushing is dead, only he doesn’t remember dying and he can’t understand why everybody thought he was dead – especially those who claimed to have seen his body. For the last year he has been imprisoned in a mysterious lab. Even his wife Jill thought he was dead and bought a house with the life insurance money and when a man looking like her dead husband shows up and beats up her new boyfriend, she is just as confused. Far from being happy to see her dead husband back, she is more concerned about what the insurance company is going to do when they found out.

Linda Amos isn’t dead either. In fact, she’s in her coffin ready to be buried when her husband opens it and notices that she is still alive! What is going on? Why aren’t these people staying dead?

If you’re looking for existential musings on what it means to be alive or dead, i.e. if you are looking for The Returned then look somewhere else. This is a roller coaster of a conspiracy thriller that is grounded in some very familiar territory without feeling overdone or predictable. There are intriguing questions from the start and like any good thriller, we get hints of the conspiracy – the writer tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it and that keeps the pages turning. Good job on that front 🙂

This is a book about experimental drugs and some Michael Crichton-esque plotting but with more interesting characters. You’re never sure who is completely trustworthy, even Mason himself is a bit of a flawed character – you’re not really looking at a hero and it feels right to have portrayed him that way. Just being a regular guy makes the plot that much more intriguing.

It’s plotted out quite nicely, the pacing is good and the writer definitely knows how to work a good thriller. There are a few niggles, mostly about the editing. I felt that some of the action scenes felt a little drawn out, a little stilted with too much explanation and not much action. Action scenes need to flow, you don’t need to know what is going through the mind of the killer or the person being killed… you just want it to happen. One particular scene stood out in my mind, a stabbing roughly 1/3 of the way through the book. I won’t reveal any more details than that in order to avoid spoiling it for others.

The only real problem is the exposition and a little bit of tighter editing would have easily solved that: 4/5

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