Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Adamas Blueprint, by Boyd Morrison

I wish that I had studied journalism, or art criticism of some sort, because I'm engaging in some really great works that I wish I could do justice. I've been fortunate enough to get a freelance gig doing reviews, usually theater reviews. I try to keep my hand in by writing about movies I've seen too. I've jotted down a few notes about some books, too. (Separate from the ones I'm required to do for class.)

So although I'm not a critic, I hope that my words may be helpful for two or three of you out there.

The latest book I've devoured is The Adamas Blueprint, by Boyd Morrison. I know Boyd by association through the local theater scene. He's very watchable as an actor, and I keep learning more about him through snippets, that he studied engineering, for example. Then I heard him talking about his writing, and that he had a number of novels (!) completed. When he posted some links on Facebook, that was my chance.

Adamas is about Kevin, a grad student who gets a postmortem email from a former professor/employer. Kevin quickly gets embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game with a powerful industrialist who is interested in a process that Kevin unwittingly helped discover. Kevin is forced to run for his life while simultaneously trying to figure out why the hell why they're chasing him.

Boyd does a great job of keeping the action cranked up to 11. It's a true page turner in that our heroes are never really "safe", so you have to keep seeing what's happening next. There are twists upon twists, never blatantly advertised. I love this quality, because there's not much more of a downer than seeing what's coming a mile away. Not to mention, any author who can use a grad student's unwashed pile of laundry in a thriller gets props from me.

Indeed the whole academic way of life is its own animal, opaque to anyone who's never been through it, and Boyd knows the details. Because I work at a university, I love it when writers get it right. Two minor quibbles: student workers get trained on the FERPA privacy law and how important it is. Would a character risk that much trouble for $100 or $200 bucks? Same thing with access to a lab, would someone really risk the trouble to give a friend (even a good friend) access to a multimillon dollar lab? I'm not sure.

Perhaps its a function of age. Maybe $100 back in the day would have done it. I think it could be updated to $1000 in today's dollars. There are some other cues that the story may not be aging well. The idea that the crucial email didn't land in a sent items folder seems off, as well as Kevin's statement that he'd never used a cell phone before.

The writing itself reads much like an homage to Hammett and the hardboiled noir writing of the 40s-50s, with modern updates like, "Hello, McFly!" But indeed, that's the point; that style of writing emphasized the way real people actually talk.

I do recommend this book for those looking for a page-turner; definitely good airplane or beach reading. Not as erudite as say, a Neal Stephenson, but that can be a good thing, as anyone who has slogged through thousands of (entertaining but challenging) pages of his work can attest.

Boyd has The Adamas Blueprint available for free on his web site,
but I purchased mine for .99 for my iphone at Also available for Kindle. Let me put a plug in for supporting the arts by purchasing the work. It's definitely worth more than .99!

One last thing. Boyd, can I write the screenplay? :o)

1 comment:

Boyd Morrison said...

Thanks, Machelle! I finished the novel in 1995, so I agree that some of the technology is specific to that time. At the time I wrote it, I had just started using email (on dial-up!), and I had never used a cell phone, which were huge bricks at the time.

I'd love for you to write the screenplay! Who would you cast as Kevin and Erica?