Breaking Point by John Macken

9/10 A great cannot put down book

‘Breaking point’ is Macken’s third book in the futuristic gene crime series. Scientist Reuben Maitland has found a way of identifying a rouge gene in a person’s DNA that could enable them to be a psychopath later on in their life. Reuben is now working undercover, outside of the law, in a private laboratory in order to earn a living. He’s not happy about it and hears a mystery that he has to sink his teeth into. Someone is using his research to find these ‘latent psychopaths’ and is pushing them to their breaking points in order to make them snap. Meanwhile another plot line develops, this one focusing on a London underground murderer. A killer leaving no forensic evidence behind and causing an already packed city to stop in gridlock as everyone is feeling terrified.

I found this book to be a gripping read, with a tense and violent plot. The whole plot was unique and combined crime, science, fantasy and mystery themes throughout. I personally found the main character of Reuben Maitland to be surprisingly likable, he was clearly a workaholic, unsure of who to trust and yet the book really fleshed him out. I like reading about the relationship he had with his estranged wife, his colleague and his ill son, the ‘home’ focus on a character as well the ‘work’ focus really brings them to life. I did, however, find the ending point of his role in the story a little predictable and even unrealistic.

Despite being part of a series I read this book as a standalone novel, and still understood every aspect of the plot. Macken has a clear, concise writing style which really works to draw the reader in. Not only is the reader drawn into what is going on in the storyline, they are also invited to explore many ethical issues that the book brings up. For example, is it right to know who may be likely to display violent tendencies? Should they be allowed to carry on as human beings or should they be watched like a bomb that could explode at any minute? Would you want to know your own profile and what would you do with the result?

Overall I enjoyed reading this book, and would be eager to recommend it to others. Alongside all the positive aspects of this book, I feel it’s important to mention that its emphasis lays with crime and science and is therefore not really fantastic for anyone who loves fantasy novels containing magic, sorcery or mythical creatures, but it’s still a great ‘can’t put down’ book and I give it a 8.5/10.

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