Double Helix by Nancy Werlin


MysteryScience Fiction

Young AdultDouble Helix (Puffin Sleuth Novels) Double HelixNancy Werlin; Puffin 2005WorldCat

It is the end of his senior year. Eli Samuels is a bright student, salutatorian in his class. But he isn’t going to college the next September. He wants to take a year off. He and his father have been arguing. College is one more thing to argue about. Eli wants to earn the money for school. The family’s finances have been devastated by Mrs. Samuels’ illness. She is in a nursing home, dying of Huntington’s Disease.

Eli gets a job at Wyatt Transgenics. For some reason he has impressed Dr. Quincy Wyatt, one of the world’s geniuses in genetics. Eli is excited to be working with Dr. Wyatt. But his father is angry. There is some secret in Eli’s family’s past. Dr. Wyatt, Mr. Samuels, and Mrs. Samuels had connections when the couple were in graduate school. Eli is only now realizing that something had happened before he was born. Dr. Wyatt bears no animosity. Mr. Samuels hates Dr. Wyatt. Eli finds himself caught between the two men.

Eli keeps slightly distant from all those people close to him, including his girlfriend, Viv. He won’t inflict the possibility of Huntington’s Disease on anyone else. He knows he has a good chance of having the disease as well. He is wary of getting the test that would prove whether he has it or not. Does he want to know if he is going to go violently insane in his future?

Nancy Werlin has a well written suspense here in Double Helix. This is a young adult novel that appeals to adults as well. Werlin writes the tale in first person narrative, capturing Eli’s conflicts and making them believable. Eli is a likeable, confused guy with a logical mind and sound emotions. Double Helix is tight, quick paced. The reader gets caught up in the narrative. There are suspicions of what has happened. But more is revealed in the end than the hints seem to show.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

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