Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.
When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. Encouraged by Victor, an odd stranger, he convinces the administrator to allow him to study the virus. Soon, reality begins to shift, and Gabriel’s hallucinations interfere with his work.
As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?
Conley's near-future SF thriller chronicles genius scientist Gabriel Schist's rise and fall, showing snapshots of his childhood and upbringing from the perspective of his final struggle with Alzheimer's. Renowned for creating an HIV/AIDS vaccine and stopping the epidemic in its tracks, Gabriel must tackle the new "black virus" that has started to plague his nursing home, turning everyone into black-eyed zombies. Steeped in suspense, Conley's novel delves into the darker recesses of the medical establishment. Gabriel is a sympathetic character, and the reader is pulled into his private struggles. However, Conley (The Cage Legacy) relies too heavily on the standard boy genius and lone savior character traits, which diminishes the impact of the central narrative. The book is intriguing but loses some of its energy once it begins to feel too familiar.