Husband-wife author duo Matt and Erin Smith, writing under a single name, do for the pharmaceutical industry what John Grisham did for law. In their novel, Trials: The Risk/Benefit Ratio, the local writers tell the story of Grant Adams, a researcher whose daughter is ill with bronchiosclerosis. Grant takes a job with a small Minnesota pharmaceutical company that just happens to be developing a new "miracle drug" and looking for trial participants. But Grant soon discovers that the company is steeped in sinister ambition. He becomes tangled among professional and moral research violations, and murder. The authors tell the story of the money-hungry few on top of the drug industry, willing to bend any rule and stake any life to get a drug on the market. While the company makes plans to transition to public ownership and earn more and more money, Smith follows a family whose son's lungs thicken, harden, and eventually succumb to the illness. As Grant investigates his employers more deeply, the facts get uglier, and ultimately he is left with a choice: blow the whistle on a corrupt company, or shut up and hope his daughter benefits from the drug trial. Who knew prescription drug research could be so thrilling?
Thu., April 3, 4 p.m., 2008