Yet another fast and furious novel by Daniel Suarez.
This guy definitely has the knack for writing novels which start up quickly and move fast the whole way through. He generally takes an idea from some sort of technological advancement and crafts a story around how that can either go wrong, or be taken too far. In that sense, he’s somewhat similar to Michael Crichton and I suspect that if you’ve enjoyed Crichton’s stuff, you’ll enjoy Suarez’ works as well.
In this novel, the scene is set in the not-too-distant 2030’s. America has lost it’s position as global technological leader by resisting change and missing out on the biotech revolution that comes with disruptive force. Asia is the place to be and the whole novel is set in southeast Asia. The main character is an agent with Interpol working with a unit which aims to stop the many groups of underground genetic manipulators who promise to use CRISPR techniques to alter embryos, providing the baby with exceptional strength, intelligence, etc. All of this is highly illegal, of course. One particularly advanced and powerful group rises above the rest and sets up the battle that proceeds.
The main protagonist, Ken Durand, gets attacked in a crowded area and is infected with a “change agent” that ultimately transforms him into his arch enemy (and is supposed to kill him). Unexpectedly, he survives, discovering that that form of genetic change is possible, but unable to convince his team of his true identity, he has to go on the run from both Interpol and the Huli jing cartel.
This book isn’t deep. The characters are pretty consistent, but shallow. It basically reads like an action movie, which is just fine with me. Change Agent would probably make a very fun movie. Don’t expect huge character development, but I don’t really think the novel suffers any in that department, because there definitely is character growth and change. The characters you get to know are pretty diverse and pretty reasonable.