Book Review: The Alpine Project

Book Review: The Alpine Project

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

I stare blankly at the cover. Listening in closely, I hear echoes of German words spurting through the Wernicke of my brain. Here is the familiar image of a chair underneath an astral lamp adding up to the broken tiles and rumbles on the floor. It whispers to me, without sound, murmurs of icy tidings. Mesmerized by this portrait of experimentation inhumanely scientific, I pick this one electronic piece of fast food literature off the shelves. The price being fitting for a nil-sized wallet such as mine, I decide to give it a chance. Quietly, I sink down within the drapes of my virtual bed, hoping to blow out a few wads of steam over the weekend.

Put simply, the Alpine Project is a penny dreadful of a medical thriller filled with cheesy dialogues, and outlining a trajectory of exaggerated plot twists. It opens up with a simple murder mystery, a scientist and a security guard are both murdered in a lab, after which a police investigation soon follows. It is at first a very fast-paced story. The average chapter is eerily short, constantly changing between multiple points of view, before eventually slowing down and settling on the daughter of the murdered scientist.

Being written by a physician, it will come to no surprise that its main strength is not its writing, but well its intellectual drifting. Thus was I not intrigued to learn that a great many of the facts espoused throughout the story were actually historically accurate, namely the fits about Nazi blood group tattoos, along with Joseph Mengele’s exciting post-war life featuring illegal abortions (and who knows what else). The Alpine Project is overall loosely inspired by the true stories of twin experiments performed by the infamous Herr Doktor.

A quick search reveals that Sotinib, a cancer drug featured in the story, is in fact based on a real drug sold by Pfizer called Sunitinib (marketed as Sutent), which indeed targets the FLT-3 gene, a receptor tyrosine kinase. I do not want to spoil you too much, so instead I will leave at the bottom a real scientific paper, suggesting that up to 10% of cases of Alzheimer’s Disease could be misdiagnosed cases of Creutz-Feld Jakob Disease (the human equivalent of Mad Cow Disease). Add 1 and 2, do a little math, and conspiracy theories ahoy! On a side note, in light of studies on APOE it would seem that a diet high in cholesterol is a more likely explanation for a dementia epidemic than the consumption of meat itself.

 

Figure 1. The Raft of the Medusa: a creepy lithograph to hang up on the wall of your work office.
Figure 1. The Raft of the Medusa: a creepy lithograph to hang up on the wall of your work office.

 

FINAL VERDICT: 3.8/5.0

TAGLINE: A fun read for those on a tight leisure budget and who do not mind a little extra cholesterol in their meat.

 

After finishing the book and doing a little more digging, I am left with the feeling that somehow the story itself is more believable than its own narration would otherwise suggest. Other than that, it would appear that the publisher, Chadwick Press, has zero online presence which frankly is nothing surprising given the current landscape of the industry. If I had some advice to give the author, I would tell him to do one more round of polish, fix a few words, make it easier for the reader to immerse in the story.

If you want me to do more book reviews or to review a specific title, I trust you to know how to contact me. In the meantime, I’ll now be expanding my intellectual loftiness by adding Puccini to my cultural palate.

 

SOURCES:

The Alpine Project: https://www.amazon.com/Alpine-Project-K-M-Holt-ebook/dp/B01AFGXDOI

Sunitinib: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunitinib

Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer disease: risk, mechanisms, and therapy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3726719/

Thinking the unthinkable: Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Mad Cow disease: the age-related reemergence of virulent, foodborne, bovine tuberculosis or losing your mind for the sake of a shake or burger: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15694685