Author: Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.
Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged
Narrator: Joe Hempel
Length: 7 hours, 33 minutes
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary Science Fiction
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Publisher: Grass Valley Publishing
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Firstly, I want to mention that although this is Book Seven of the Brier Hospital series, I have not read any of the previous six books in the series. In fact, this is a stand-alone novel and it is not necessary to read the previous books to either enjoy or to understand this book. Now, with that being said, I enjoyed this book immensely and I do plan to read the author’s other books.
Denise Berg, a professor of psychology, and her husband Gabe, a molecular biologist wanted badly to have a child. Unable to conceive on their own, they turned to fertility treatments.
After many failed attempts, they were thrilled when Denise finally became pregnant. Because of the intelligence of both parents, they expected their child to be smart. They just didn’t expect him to be extraordinary.
They name their child Zack and this book chronicles his life into his teenage years. He is gifted both physically and mentally. In fact, he has a genius IQ.
Denise has Basque heritage and Zack becomes curious about that part of his lineage.
Because of Zack’s abilities he attracts the interest of many people. Some of them have less than noble plans for Zack.
Professor Jorge Moneo grew up in Basque Country, a place of violent confrontation between Spain and the Basque people’s struggle for independence.
Spanish security forces murdered his parents, his grandmother, his wife and his only son. Jorge had been a happy and reasonably content man until the day his family was brutally murdered. The motive for the murders was the simple fact that they were Basque.
As of that day Jorge swears that he will get revenge. He attacks one of the murderers in the street but is unable to kill him. The Spanish authorities suspect that he is the attacker, but without proof they are unable to prosecute him. Instead, they deport him to the United States and warn him to never return. Jorge may not be able to do anything about the murders at the time, but he begins plotting his revenge.
Once he settles in the United States he opens a school for gifted children with Basque bloodlines. It is at this school where he meets Zack.
The teenager and the Basque revolutionary become inextricably linked and the lives of both of them will never be the same.
This book is absolutely fascinating. I have to admit that before reading this book I had never heard of the Basque people or of the ETA which is “the hard-line “military” wing of the Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna (ETA; Basque for “Basque Homeland and Liberty”), a terrorist liberation organization seeking Basque self-determination and secession from Spain.” – Information obtained from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/55335/Basque
The author has woven an intricate and interesting tale of a family struggling to raise a gifted child with a political thriller and a medical thriller that is reminiscent of Robin Cook’s writing. This book is a truly unique experience.
Even if the Basque element was removed from this story, it would still be an interesting book.
Zack’s parents want what is best for him. How do you balance a supreme intellect with regular childhood? They want to challenge him, both physically and mentally, but they also want him to just “be a regular kid.” They want him to enjoy his childhood and not to ignore the value of regular experiences such as playing with kids his own age.
Add in the political issues of Basque independence and the medical issues around superior DNA and you have an excellent story.
Because this book is so complex and contains so many different threads, I am sure that my review is not doing it justice. However, I highly recommend this audiobook.
The narrator, Joe Hempel, has a great voice. His pacing was perfect and the way he narrates allows the listener to be pulled into the story. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks and there are a lot of different narrators. I find that if I don’t like the narrator’s voice then I end up not liking the book. Joe Hempel does a wonderful job of narrating HYBRID.
A good narrator can make all the difference to the listener. Joe Hempel’s narration enhanced my enjoyment of this book and basically that is all a listener can desire from a narrator. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I rate the audiobook version of HYBRID as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lawrence W. Gold was born in Brooklyn and attended medical school in Chicago.
The war in Vietnam interrupted his medical training, but he returned to the United States in 1968 to complete his training in internal medicine and nephrology. He spent twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses often in ICU, and served as Chief of Internal Medicine and Family Practice.
Lawrence and his wife, Dorkis retired in 1995. After years spent sailing he has written many novels and one non-fiction book. More information can be obtained on his website: http://www.lawrencewgoldmd.com
ABOUT THE NARRATOR:
Joe Hempel is a book reviewer who has broken into the publishing scene with audiobook narration, voice acting, and eBook editing and formatting.
* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.