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Book Review: Primacy by J.E. Fishman

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Primacy by J.E. Fishman is a novel which covers a lot of ground, both geographically and storywise. The book is partially about animal testing and contains some difficult passages, however it’s worth the effort.

Liane Vinson is a researcher in an animal testing facility for Pentalon in Farmngdayle, Long Island who just got a promotion to work in the monkey lab. However, one of her favorite primates, a bonobo called Bea, starts to display the ability to speak.

Bea becomes an asset to animal rights groups and a liability to Pentalon and the government. Endangering her own life and that of her neighbor, the veterinarian Mickey Ferrone, Liane tries to save Bea from certain death and bring her back home from which she was abducted.

Primacy by J.E. Fishman starts fast and never lets go. The story revolves around a research ape, type bonobo, who has developed the ability to speak. This great ape, named Bea, doesn’t talk in full sentences, but a word here or there. However , it is enough for Liane, the book’s heroine, to risk everything to save her.

While the book could have easily been rehashed as a genre type it reads fresh and exciting. Mr. Fishman’s pacing is flawless and the narrative superbly entertaining. The writing style is intelligent and the action sequences are beautifully executed.

When I first started to read this book I thought “not another animal friendly book” and was waiting for the inevitable tirade to come about animal testing and our treatment of our fellow planet dwellers. To my surprise that tirade never came and the discussion of the moral and ethical issues on both sides is handles very well. However, animal testing and research is portrayed as evil.

The book moves around geographically, but in an even pace and the author doesn’t simply drop his characters in an exotic locale but has a reason for them being where they are. I found the characterization to be believable and dimensional, even the bad guys were developed. My favorite character was a government black ops agent for the…Department of Agriculture.

While the book does involve some science, I cannot comment on the passages for better or worst simply because I don’t know enough to do so. This is an intelligent book and even though the premise might be far reaching, Mr. Fishman certainly took great care into making it believable.

While I didn’t think that this book provided me with many answers (if there are any), I do believe it posed many thought provoking questions.

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