Amazon.com link for A Fierce Radiance
About the book: New York City is awash with a sense of purpose in 1941, in the days following the U.S.'s involvement in WWII. Emotions are heightened, and everyone wants to do something important. Claire Shipley stumbles upon the greatest story of her career when she is assigned to take pictures of the scientists at the Rockefeller Institute who are working against time to develop life-saving antibiotics. Little does she know that the assignment will involve blackmail, espionage, and murder.
My Review: A Fierce Radiance crosses genres as a historical novel, a love story, a crime thriller, and a murder mystery. It captured my attention from the very beginning and held it throughout. Claire Shipley is a fascinating character as a photo journalist dealing with situations in her job, her family, and her relationships. Claire is assigned to a local hospital to report on a still experimental drug, penicillin, but her interest was more than professional. Penicillin could have saved the life of the daughter she lost to an infection. Through her work she also meets her love interest, Dr. James Stanton.
The author brings to life the promise and heartache of experimental drugs. Problems arise when they cannot create the drugs quickly enough to give the patient a complete series, and some of the drugs have unexpected side effects. Competition among drug companies, the Federal Government, and greedy business men round out this superb crime drama.
I am very impressed with the author’s depiction of a mother living with the grief of losing a child. In A Fierce Radiance, Lauren Belfer captured this aspect of Claire’s life perfectly. I’ve read other books that do not come close to portraying this appropriately. All of the characters and their roles are clearly defined and developed. Claire is not always likeable, but she is always interesting.
If you visit Lauren’s website, she has some interesting historical facts she learned while researching for the book. You can see it here: Lauren Belfer