A Book Spy Review: ‘Change Agent’ By Daniel Suarez

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After the sinister leader of a futuristic DNA-modifying cartel frames the Interpol agent who is hot on his heels to take the fall for his crimes, things don’t quite go according to his plan.

Set in 2045, lead Interpol agent Kenneth Durand is hellbent on bringing down Huli Jing, a black market corporation that runs a series of shops where parents can, for a large fee, genetically modify the DNA of their growing embryos. These procedures allow parents to handpick traits and characteristics–everything from what they’ll look like to athletic abilities–which are then written into their child’s DNA. 

But what started with good intentions as a way for parents to ensure their future children will live long, healthy lives while enjoying good looks and abilities soon morphed into something much darker. 

As Durand closes in on Marcus Demag Wyckes, the leader of Huli Jing, Wyckes formulates a plan that will take down the Interpol agent and allow him to escape. Once lured in, Durand is injected with a special agent that was written to genetically alter his appearance, leaving him looking like Wyckes.

Prior to this point, the DNA modification procedures had only been done on embryos, not fully grown adults. The result, Wyckes thought, would certainly kill the host body–Durant–making it look like he himself was dead.

But he was wrong…

Durand survives the procedure, waking up months later from a coma looking exactly like Wyckes. After escaping, Durand goes on the run from both Wycke’s men and his former Interpol team, who now believe him to be the sadistic leader of Huli Jing.

As Durand flees from both good and bad guys, he runs towards the hope that a risky procedure in Malaysia can restore his old DNA. What follows is one man’s gripping and dramatic quest to find himself and stop an evil villain once and for all.

Suarez takes an improbable scenario set in the future and manages to make it believable through superb writing. These types of stories only work if the author dedicates the pages necessary to building the futuristic world, allowing readers to feel present and up to speed on what 2045 looks and feels like. At the same time, over-illustrating things can bog the story down. Suarez, though, finds a nice balance here and goes into great detail–introducing a ton of fun concepts while keeping the story moving at a brisk clip.

On top of that, Suarez makes the highly complex science elements understandable, which is no little feat when writing about something as complicated as DNA and genetic coding. With innovative drone technology, a new take on vehicular traveling, and a variety of other cool concepts, readers will love exploring the futuristic world Durand operates in.

The concept of technology coming to life or technology merging with human genetics isn’t necessarily a new topic, but Suarez’s version of events is wildly entertaining.

On the flip side, while there is lots of action, this is still a sci-fi novel, so if you come to the table looking for a spy-like thriller, you won’t find that here. Also, there isn’t a ton of character development, but most readers will still find ways to connect with Durand and the rest of the cast.

Face/Off meets Total Recall in Daniel Suarez’s new thriller, Change Agent, which has plenty of action and suspense to keep readers engaged and on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

Book Details

Author: Daniel Suarez 
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 110198466X
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: April 18, 2017 (Order Now!)

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