Betty Jean Craige
Black Opal Books (2018)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (10/18)
“Aldo” by Betty Jean Craige begins with a series of posts on the ‘Night Watch’ Facebook page about genetic modification and the danger it entails to the future of the human species. Readers then meet Dr. Isabel Canto as she finds out she is pregnant and worried about her boyfriend’s reaction to the news. She decides that Frank’s reaction won’t affect her decision – this was her baby and she would keep it. Isabel is the associate director of Pembrook and Frank Mark is a post-doctoral researcher at the same institution. The same day she learns she is pregnant, Isabel attends a press conference with University President Dr. Mackin, along with Frank and other colleagues working on Genome Modification research. There she finds out about a letter signed by ALDO demanding Mackin to dissolve the Institute, fire its director to put a stop to genome modification. Mackin doesn’t oblige. As a consequence, ALDO moves forward with his threats and the thrilling story unravels.
Betty Jean Craige created a thought-provoking thriller for readers where academia, morality vs scientific beliefs, unplanned pregnancy, and terrorism meet, all woven into a plot as events change all of the characters’ lives unexpectedly. I loved the characters as they all seemed real and genuine to me, and I found myself turning pages not just to follow the plot but also because I cared about what happened to the characters. I was invested. Adding to the regular book format, screen posts from the internet was an awesome idea as it enriched the visual elements of the story as I saw the screen in my mind. The only thing that took me out of the story was the slow pace at the beginning which, although interesting, felt slower than the rest of the book, and the fact that my copy’s pages were falling apart as I turned them.
“Aldo” by Betty Jean Craige is a thrilling read that has a controversial and stimulating plot which will linger in readers minds as they visit such topics while following the personal lives of characters, the actions of a terrorist and the consequences belief and ideology, love, and terrorism can have on people lives.