Review: Drift by Jon McGoran

Posted July 22, 2013 by Heather in Book Reviews / 9 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher / TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Drift by Jon McGoranDrift by Jon McGoran
Published by Forge Books on July 9, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Suspense / Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher / TLC Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon

After the death of his parents, Philadelphia narcotics Detective Doyle Carrick plans to spend a [twenty]-day suspension drinking alone in the country. But then a high-powered drug gang shows up in town, and he uncovers a deadly plot involving genetic engineering and the blurring line between food and pharmaceuticals. Soon Doyle realizes they are up to something far more sinister, and what’s growing in the farmland around Philadelphia is much deadlier than anything he could have imagined.

(from the author's website)

Jon McGoran has been following and writing about food and agriculture for many years. In Drift, McGoran focuses on GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Technologies of this kind always have good and bad sides, divided by a fine ethical line. No matter how you look at it or where you read about it though, GMO technology often sounds like some kind of science fiction thriller. (Frankenstein, anyone? There is a reason why genetically modified foods have been nicknamed “Frankenfoods.”) Drift is a fast-paced ecological thriller that points out the potential dangers of GMOs.

It is obvious which side of the GMO debate McGoran falls on, but Drift doesn’t feel preachy at all. Personally, I’m fine with preachy books that share my views, but I know lots of people don’t like to be preached to, no matter what. Drift is simply a thriller that uses GMO technology as part of its plot. (I actually wish there had been more detailed explanations of some of the ideas in the book.) Whether you have an opinion about GMOs or know nothing about them, if you enjoy reading thrillers, you’ll enjoy reading Drift.

While I enjoyed Drift overall, and even learned a few things, there are a couple of things about the book that I wish had been different. I’ve already mentioned that I would have liked more detail about the dangers of GMOs. There are a few times in the book when two other characters are trying to teach Doyle about GMOs and Doyle tunes them out. What the two characters are telling him is never written in detail and I think it should have been. I understand that Doyle is written as the type of person who doesn’t get into the politics of food and agriculture, but I think those details would have made for a better book. It would have been a longer book, but I think it would have been worth it.

Romance. It seems like authors think there has to be some kind of romance in every book these days, but Drift could have done without the romance angle. Doyle is a single man brought together with a good-looking single woman. I know that many men in this situation would be hoping for some kind of romantic relationship (or just sex, as the case may be), but I also think that there are times when a plain ol’ friendship would do just as well. This is one of those cases. Everything that happens in this book concerning Doyle and his love interest would have worked just as well if they had developed just a tight friendship. The few romantic parts in Drift felt out-of-place to me–it didn’t work as well as the author intended.

Aside from those two things, I really enjoyed reading Drift. It’s certainly a page-turner (I read the entire book in one day), and it’s well-written. It made me want to learn more about GMOs and the debate surrounding them. The character development was lacking a tiny bit, but I think sometimes character development is less important in thrillers. For me, the point of suspense/thrillers is the story itself, and Drift provides a good story. I recommend it to people who enjoy reading the suspense/thriller genre, and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more from McGoran in the future.

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  • Oy, I am SO TIRED of the forced romance. But other than that, it sounds like this would be right up my alley. Adding to my TBR.

    • And the romance part isn’t really heavy, either. It’s not in-your-face…it’s just an annoyance.

    • Oh, and someone just reminded me…wait until you see all the boob talk. That was a little…weird.

      The book is worth reading despite these things, though.

  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    Book talk?!? I’m in!! Ha ha 😉 Really though, it does sound like an interesting way to learn more about GMOs.

  • I agree with Jennifer – what a great way to learn more about GMOs!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • Amie Lout

    This book looks to have an interesting plot, I am interested in the science part, with the genetic engineering and all. I’ll be looking for this one. I would recommend another book with a great scientific twist using global warming as the hook. White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy by Paul Mark Tag, paulmarktag.com. It’s a great fiction work, worth the read.

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  • Cool! The book sounds really unique, but I think I can understand why you might want more information about certain things in the novel. It does sound like it’s full of action, though!

  • I had forgotten about the boob scene until I read your comment 🙂 It did make him seem a bit creepy. But overall I really liked this one.