With the razor-sharp satire that earned him rave reviews for Big Egos and Lucky Bastard, among others, S.G. Browne delivers another irresistible read, about an unlikely band of heroes who use their medical complications to gain fame, confront villains, and bring their own unique brand of justice to New York City.
Faster than a spreading rash! More powerful than dry heaves! Able to put villains to sleep with a single yawn!
Convulsions. Nausea. Headaches. Sudden weight gain. For the pharmaceutical soldiers on the front lines of medical science—volunteers who test experimental drugs for cash—these common side effects are a small price to pay to defend your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of antidepressants.
Lloyd Prescott, thirty-year-old professional guinea pig and victim of his own inertia, is the first to notice the bizarre, seemingly implausible consequences of years of testing not-quite-legal drugs: his lips go numb, he becomes overwhelmed with exhaustion, and instantly a stranger crumples into a slumbering heap before him. Under cover of night, Lloyd and his guinea pig friends band together to project their debilitating side effects onto petty criminals who prey upon the innocent. When a horrible menace with powers eerily similar to their own threatens the city, only one force can stop this evil: the handful of brave men who routinely undergo clinical trials.
“One of America’s best satiric novelists” (Kirkus Reviews), S. G. Browne fills the prescription for a hilarious and biting commentary on our overmedicated society. Citizens, rest assured that tonight, no matter your ailment—anxiety, depression, super villains—there’s a pill to save the day.
The latest satire from Browne (Big Egos) wittily and winningly mixes commentary on the state of the pharmaceutical industry (and American healthcare in general) with a tale of C-level superheroes. Lloyd has been making a living by begging in parks and participating in prescription drug trials. Along with a group of fellow guinea pigs, he takes assorted drugs to help companies discover potential side effects. Recently, he's noticed that one of those common side effects, drowsiness, has not only increased, but seems to get broadcast, causing others around him to sleep. Comparing notes, the test subjects realize that they've all developed similar powers (inducing rashes or weight gain, etc.), and decide to band together to fight crime. Meanwhile, other New Yorkers seem to be committing misdeeds with similar powers, causing people to lose memories or hallucinate. While Browne's novel has the trappings of a superhero story (including a shout-out to cult film Mystery Men), it works equally as a critique of a broken and corrupt pharmaceutical industry, one in which medicines often exacerbate the problems they're designed to cure while introducing new ones.