The Prize by Geoffrey M. Cooper
Updated: May 12, 2020
Scientists are often thought of as being hardworking and disciplined and the kind of people whose reason and intellect usually prevails over the baser human traits of envy, hubris, and greed. The Prize’s Pam Weller sure fits that description. As a matter of fact, her years of perseverance have led her and her team to one of the most monumental scientific discoveries of our time – a potential cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s the kind of work that could easily garner her a Nobel Prize. While her research is quite promising and there is much cause for celebration, not everyone is so thrilled with Pam’s findings. Eric Prescott, a renowned scientist and Alzheimer’s researcher in his own right, is watching his own chances at the prestigious award slip away as Pam appears to have had the scientific breakthrough he had long been hoping for. He decides he can’t let that happen, no matter what the cost.
While author Geoffrey M. Cooper is no stranger to writing (he has several non-fiction books under his belt), this is his debut novel. You wouldn’t know that from the way he writes. His sentences are smooth and lean. The dialogue feels natural; the means and motives of his antagonists are solid. He does a brilliant job of simplifying the testing involved in medical research for us non-scientists while still maintaining the integrity of the processes. Cooper effortlessly changes the point of view between characters, allowing the reader to know who did what before those in the story do. Hence, the real thrill in this thriller comes from seeing if the good guys will put all of the pieces together before it’s too late, or if Eric Prescott will get away with his crimes. The Prize is a clever, suspenseful page-turner for seasoned lab-coat wearers and novice geeks alike. The real question here is not whodunit, but what took Geoffrey M. Cooper so long to start writing fiction. If he ever gets tired of test tubes and academic politics in real life, The Prize proves that he has the imagination and literary chops to have a robust second career as a writer.