FATHER OF CONTENTION
Tellwell Talent (2019)
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (02/2020)
“Father of Contention” follows scientist Renner Scholz as he continues his research in recombinant DNA technology, and Milena Nowak, a psychic he eventually falls in love with. Renner, previously a skeptic when it comes to psychic phenomena, becomes obsessed with understanding Milena’s powers. This obsession leads him down a dark and frightening path. Renner’s fascination changes him for the worse, and Milena is left at his mercy.
Author Lanie Mores clearly did her own research while writing “Father of Contention.” The novel goes in depth when discussing Renner’s scientific work with recombinant DNA technology, along with his other research projects. The author’s interest in these topics bleeds into the novel and adds an extra layer of intrigue.
Mores also does an excellent job of exploring an abusive relationship. She doesn’t glorify it, instead examining how a woman can become trapped in one and unable to leave. She explains how the abusive person in the relationship justifies their treatment of the victim. It’s a sad situation to read about, but it’s written in a responsible and reasonable way.
“Father of Contention” is written as a character driven novel. Renner and Milena’s personal journeys are the focal points for most of the plot. Unfortunately, I found they, and the other characters, are also this novel’s greatest weakness. They are passive characters who don’t make many decisions of their own. The main antagonist, another scientist named Paul, is rude and aggressive towards Renner and Milena from the beginning without any explanation. He goes out of his way to make life difficult for Renner at both a personal and professional level, yet Renner has done nothing to cause any of this animosity. Paul’s behavior towards them also changes without warning or provocation. He spends much of the book being hateful, but every so often his personality completely switches, and he becomes friendly. Renner and Milena themselves comment on these uncharacteristic changes, yet they are never explained to them or the audience.
“Father of Contention” by Lanie Mores is a novel for a group of readers who are interested in both science fiction and psychic phenomena. Readers will find themselves drawn into Renner’s obsessions and sympathizing with Milena’s situation. It’s an easy to read novel that can be finished relatively quickly. You should read it during a rainy afternoon with the lights dimmed to fuel the creepy atmosphere this novel creates!