Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Void by Mark Mynheir

The Void by Mark Mynheir

March 2-8, Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring The Void by Mark Mynheir.

Hiding behind a well-funded children's hospital and the high-tech genetics lab at Lifetex, a team of elite scientists is conducting illegal experiments in human cloning. Test subject after test subject dies when they attempt to move the clones (full grown) from their liquid incubators into the oxygen atmosphere. Yet, they seem perfect physical specimens. Their organs work. Their brainwaves appear normal. But they are comatose; the spark of consciousness is absent. There's a VOID. Finally, "Adam", the first successful clone, draws his first breath. Excitement and pride overflows at Lifetex. Distrustful of the media, the scientists keep their breakthrough a secret while they begin to test and educate Adam. The idea is to present him as such an overwhelming triumph of science that everyone will forget how many laws of ethics and government were broken to attain the achievement.

And this plan would have worked except that an off-duty police officer happens to be found murdered just outside the security fence which surrounds the Lifetex facility. And Adam has a few unexpected "quirks".

Enter Robbie Sanchez, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent assigned to the cop-killer case. Of course, all law enforcement officers are especially keen to find the perpetrators of this heinous act, but Robbie's father was a policeman killed in the line of duty during a bank robbery. So Robbie is especially motivated to find the killer and bring him to justice.

I should probably take a moment to explain that Robbie is short for Roberta. This is probably not an issue for most readers, but in my childhood, I knew far more males nicknamed "Robbie" than females. I had to constantly remind myself that Robbie was a she. Robbie is caring for her aging mother, who has Alzheimer's. She does nothing but work, sleep, and take care of her mother. And though her parents were/are both Christians, Robbie lost her faith when her father died.

However, unbeknownst to her, forces are in motion in this case which will rock her to the core and rekindle that faith of her childhood. I don't want to give away too many of the surprises, or it will ruin the story, but there are plenty of mysteries and twists to entertain the reader along the way. Oh, and this is probably the first time I have ever come in on the middle of a book series and not felt like I missed something for not having read the books in proper order. That really says a lot for Mr. Mynheir's skill as a writer. This may be the last time I will ever say this, but I truly do not feel like there is any pressing need to read either of the first two books in order to enjoy this one. It truly stands on its own.

I enjoyed this police drama / suspense novel. It wasn't ground-shaking, in my opinion, but it was at least as good as an episode of CSI Miami. In fact, since it is set in Florida, I had a hard time keeping myself from making comparisons with that show. And the spirtual dimension gave it an extra bonus which TV can't offer. I would have liked the ultimate denouement to have had an even greater supernatural dimension than it did, considering the nature of the antagonists, but God was definitely acknowledged, consulted and clearly directed the cop-protagonists to the final solution. I suspect people who are not into sci-fi and fantasy as much as I am would feel Mynheir's climax was more "realistic", while still well within the realm of giving God the glory.

Visit Mark's website: Cop Writer.

Buy The Void

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Other CFRB members who will be posting sometime this week:
A Frank Review
Back to the Mountains
Bibliophile's Retreat
Cathi's Chatter
S.M. Kirkland
Main CFRB site


  1. Once again an excellent review. I feel exactly the same as you state, with the one exception, I like "Robbie" as a woman. I have a SF (unfinished) where one of the characters, Samantha Denarai, is referred to as "Sam". :-)


  2. It's probably because I mixed up the two Robbies I knew when I had to introduce players for a school play. A cast of about 15 classmates, but TWO Robbies (both male) and not once, but TWICE, I got their last names mixed up, and this was after being corrected the first time. I have never gotten over my fear of public blunders ever since.

  3. As always, I enjoy your reviews. You speak you mind and put everything in such succinct, clear language. Yeah, it took me a while to get used to "Robbie" as well, but I know a Sam and a Gabe who are female. The Roberta I knew as a child was "Bobbie" instead, same as my male cousin. But that's how nicknames are.

    I liked this book pretty much. Mark's police experience made it pretty realistic for the most part.

  4. Now that you have read the novel, I am interested in whether you think it is more sci-fi than suspense?

  5. Well, there is definitely sci-fi in it, but not enough to satisfy most sci-fi fans, in my opinion. No laser weapons. No space travel. No fun gadgets. Nothing feels futuristic at all. The only speculative element is human cloning and we are so used to the concept of plant and animal cloning that even human cloning feels rather "old-hat" and not too far-fetched. We don't even need a "near-future" setting anymore to imagine it. The Void has a "right now" feel to it.

    I would call it supernatural suspense/thriller long before sci-fi or spec-fic.

  6. Caprice,

    Thanks so much for your kind review of The Void. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Take care, and God bless.

    Mark Mynheir