Published synopsis:How far would you go for money? For Marcus Tiller, gambling debt was an overwhelming shadow on his life. As a neonatal attendant at St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital in need of cash, he became CGT-Inc's ideal pawn. The contract: secretly inject newborns with an experimental compound - for $1,000 a head. But, three years after he began, he disappeared.
Now, 14 years later, the effects of the compound are starting to show. 17-year old Ian Reynolds, an aspiring varsity football player, suddenly finds he can control things with the power of his thoughts. Footballs miraculously end up in his hands, girls' skirts catch sudden drafts and life is good. But the gift comes with a price, both physical and mental.
As Ian tries to understand his power, the big rivalry against the Waredo Firehawks looms. But when a stranger who may know his secret begins leaving him cryptic notes, will Ian decide his power is best left... undiscovered?
Review:High schooler Ian Reynolds comes from a single parent home and things are okay, but a football scholarship to college would sure help out. With this in mind, his dad pushes him hard with extra practices, but Ian appreciates it – he wants to succeed as much as his dad wants him to succeed. But when he suddenly finds that he has the ability to control things through telekinesis, the temptation to use this skill on the football field becomes almost too much to resist. Not only would he become a varsity hero as a junior, he may even be able to impress the girl of dreams, as well. The only catch? He may alienate his best friend in the process.
The novella Cheat is a promising beginning to the Icarus Helix series by J. E. Medrick. The idea of DNA manipulation testing on people who don’t know they’ve become lab rats is always a scary premise – mostly for how easy it is to imagine it could happen. Know the right people, have the right credentials; you could slip in under the radar with no one being the wiser.
As much as I enjoyed reading Cheat, there were a few things that I felt could have been improved. The characters in the novella were interesting, but I would have liked to have seen more depth in them. For instance, the main character did not always come off as a guy dedicated to his education as well as football. He seemed to lack understanding of some well-known scientific principles, as well as limited understanding of some typical high school social issues, that would have been normal for a junior in high school to be aware. The idea was there that he was a smart guy; he just didn’t come off that way. The ending was another area that left me wanting more. It was abrupt. There was no lead in to the next book, no resolution to the physical, social and moral situations introduced into this book, and no clue as to where the series is going. I can guess, but I would rather be tempted. A handful of carefully chosen sentences at the end would have made reading the next in the series more tantalizing.
I thank the author for providing me with a review copy and I give the book 3 ½ stars.