Teddy Mathews is a decent, hard-working middle class guy who stumbles upon a sinister plot to steal a mind control formula from a gifted, eccentric scientist. Great idea for a plot, right? Add too many technical details, dwell too long on trivial pursuits and introduce too many one-dimensional characters and what do you achieve? You spoil that terrific plot. Unfortunately, that is the case with Zenker.
The story opens with the introduction of Jason Tagliamonte, a former Special Forces veteran of the Afghanistan war who served in Pakistan, left the army, and joined a covert quasi government-corporate agency called the World Alliance Commission (W.T.C.). Tagliamonte has been commissioned by the W.T.C. to gain control of a formula developed by Dr. Carlton Zenker, a brilliant scientist in the field of “neuropsychopharmacology”. Zenker has conducted experiments that have established a connection between “existential existence”—surely a redundancy–and the subconscious mind. His findings show the possibility of a memory-based mind link as a tool to prove the existence of a sixth sense. Whoever owned such a tool would have tremendous power for it would mean the ability to interface deep memory from the human brain with computers in what would be known as the Zenker Mind Link or ZML.
Mathews is a manufacturer’s rep who has worked at the Kodak Park in Rochester, N.Y., the setting for this story. Beset with financial difficulties, having suffered from the economic downturn at Kodak, he is desperate to strike a deal with Zenker’s company, Ameritronics Corporation. He is unaware that Tagliamonte is attempting to gain control of the business and is willing to kill to do so. Motivated by his desire to provide for his wife and three children, Mathews places himself in harm’s way. He eludes the bad guys in the labyrinthine inner core of building No. 262 where Zenker has his laboratory and is being held prisoner. Miraculously, Mathews escapes with the formula, reaches his wife, who has arrived to help him, and they go off into the sunset. Zenker dies, Tagliamonte dies, all the bad guys die and humankind is safe once more. Unbelievable way to wrap up a very shaggy tale.
Short chapters and nonstop twists and turns in the plot make Zenker an easy read. While the book starts off on a promising note—the premise of technological mind control— the prevalence of technical details in the story telling is overwhelming. The characters are one-dimensional and the numerous typos are downright annoying. A firm editor’s hand is needed to boost this book to a higher rating.
Reviewed by Eveline Speedie for IndieReader