The Babel Effect by Daniel Hecht

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The Babel Effect

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Ryan and Jessamine McCloud, leaders of a prestigious research team, contract to look into the cause of violence in society. The team looks into genetic, environmental, and viral agents as the possible causes of the upsurge of violence on the planet. During their research they tread on some very powerful toes. Warned off by a friend with dubious contacts, and with security overseen by a rather shady character, the team nevertheless plunges into their research.

As the team gears up their new investigation, Ryan takes a trip to Africa to consult on the implementation of a previous project that tracks and predicts the spread of infectious diseases. While there, he finds subjects that are perfect for his current study on violence—war criminals and people who resisted the violence at all costs. Unfortunately, Ryan ends up the victim internal conflicts in Africa and is captured at the airport and thrown into jail.

While Ryan paces in his jail cell, the team works on freeing him and continues their research. Jessamine, in particular, makes some giant leaps forward in her research, which she hints at to Ryan in the letters she writes to him while he is in jail. Unfortunately, he doesn’t receive the letters until he is released from jail, and even greater disasters await him when he steps off the plane in America.

A thinking-person’s thriller, The Babel Effect relies heavily on neurological and genetic research, rather than new weapons and tactical encounters. It comes to a satisfying conclusion that at the same time makes the reader look at the world around, and perhaps at himself, with some new insights. It’s a compelling read that makes one think.