The Colossus by Ranjini Iyer

The Colossus by Ranjini Iyer
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (246 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

A diffident catering company owner, Max Rosen, learns of the existence of a coded research document authored by her late scientist father. This research is linked to health pills that were unearthed from the site of the Indus Valley Civilization in ancient India. The pills were once the mainstay of German pharmaceutical giant Berliner that Max’s grandfather worked for. And these pills were used in horrific Nazi era medical experiments.

When Max learns that the pills and the disturbing secret they hold may be the reason why her father may not have committed suicide as she has always believed, she embarks upon a whirlwind adventure to decode her father’s research and find his killers.

In a thrilling ride that takes her and Julian McIntosh, a history professor, across the world, she must keep her wits about her or face dire consequences at the hands of Berliner and other unknown forces, who will stop at nothing to keep the research from coming out. Even as she struggles with her feelings for Julian, Max must brace herself for startling discoveries— her father’s research may well reveal a frightening truth connecting Berliner, her grandfather, and perchance, all mankind. And the shocking reality about her father’s death is one she may never be able to face.

Maxine Rosen is still suffering from her father’s alcoholism and suicide. She just doesn’t understand what went so terribly wrong in his life. But when she comes across her father’s coded research and she discovers that some very determined people are after her and her family, she decides that she really needs to find out the truth about both her father and her grandfather.

I like Max. She works as a caterer in a rather sheltered and limited world. All of a sudden she’s traveling, dodging assassins, and trying to solve the mystery of why everyone is after her father’s research. She meets Julian McIntosh, a professor who might be able to help her unravel things, but she isn’t sure why he is so eager to help. The dynamics between Max and Julian are complex and while Max is attracted to him, she doesn’t see at all why he should be attracted to her.

Max is scared, and with good reason, and she waffles between thinking she should just forget the entire thing and being righteously indignant that a big German pharmaceutical company should be able to intimidate her. Are they the ones who killed her father? I liked the way Max develops during the story. She is obviously in a world she’s never even thought about and it would be easy to retreat. She frequently confuses Julian by her actions, but as she gets more and more information she becomes stronger and more determined.

The plot is complex and there is a lot of information about the workings of diseases and various kinds of viruses which I found both fascinating and frighteningly believable. The pacing is fast and there are twists and turns at every corner. I never guessed the solution until it unfolded at the end.

Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy traveling with Max as she and Julian try to discover the truth of what happened in the Indus Valley so many years ago.