The Chemist is the second adult novel by American author, Stephenie Meyer. Dr Juliana Fortis has been on the run from her department for three years, ever since they murdered her friend and mentor, Dr Joseph Barnaby. She had a very specialised job, and was very good at it. But she escaped before they could kill her (not that they haven’t tried since then) and she has become very good at staying alive and staying well under the radar. It’s exhausting, being a fugitive, changing her name, her vehicle, her home more often than some people change their socks, but it’s still better than being dead.
But now there’s contact from her former boss, Lowell Carston. An email “Tired of running? Policy has changed. We need you. Would an unofficial apology help? Can we meet? I wouldn’t ask, but lives are on the line. Many, many lives”. The smart thing would be to delete the email, and yet she replies. Maybe she is tired of running. What they’re asking her to do is right up her alley, and she prepares all her safeguards and makes sure she’s in complete control. But something’s just not right with her subject, and she begins to wonder if it is a trap after all.
Meyer dedicates her story to Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross, and from the first page, it is easy to see why. Her heroine is extremely resourceful, smart, very inventive and prepared to the point of paranoia. Except paranoia is when you think they’re out to get you: in her case they really are. There is lots of action and quite a bit of violence, but also plenty of laugh-out-loud dialogue and a bit of romance. Meyer sets up her big exciting climax with a delicious irony in place, and a clever twist. This is definitely Meyer’s best yet: a brilliant read.
Very enjoyable listen. Great characters.