Neurostim is a brand new drug that dramatically increases productivity and creativity. Developed from the seeds of a long-extinct Norwegian tree, Neurostim dramatically improves response time by allowing subjects to think and process information more quickly. The implications are staggering. It could help people in all walks of life, but could easily become a lifesaver for policemen, fireman, doctors and other first responders. But initial tests reveal a hiccup—some of the monkeys tested exhibited maniacal, homicidal behaviors. As the lead lab tech was approaching company authorities with the evidence, however, she was killed in a mysterious one-car accident.
Without any reported side-effects, the FDA authorizes human trials of Neurostim and the trials appear to go smoothly. Brothers Karl Bjornsen and Gunnar Bjornsen, however, are deeply embroiled in a bitter legal battle for control of the company—and Neurostim. Gunnar developed Neurostim while working as President of Bjornsen Pharmaceuticals and he’s the only one who knows the secret formula. When Karl ousted Gunnar as President, Gunnar took the formula with him.
What begins as a simple trade secrets case, however, quickly escalates and becomes more complex as Gunnar’s lawyer, Ben Corbin, discovers embezzlement and bribery with Karl as the prime suspect. When Ben and his team travel to Norway to investigate the accounting discrepancies with the company’s Norwegian branch, Bjornsen Norge, their very lives become endangered.
Is Karl Bjornsen behind the Norwegian attacks that endanger Ben and his team? Is Neurostim safe? Can the FDA stop the human trials on Neurostim before its too late?
About Rick Acker
Rick Acker does his best work while traveling, and he pecks out pages every day on the commuter train to his “real job” as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. Rick’s other books include Dead Man’s Rule and the Davis Detectives series for tweens. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Anette, and their four children.
Q&A with Rick Acker, courtesy of Glass Roads PR
Where did you get the idea for Blood Brothers?
Blood Brothers really sprang from three different ideas: First, I've had a ringside seat to several fights between former partners, and they were among the most intense and compelling cases I've been involved in. How much more intense and compelling would a case like that be if the partners were also brothers?
Second, the ancient Norse sagas are filled with fascinating stories that took place just before reliable historical records began to be kept in Scandinavia. Some of these tales are undoubtedly true, but which ones? And how might the lost knowledge behind them matter today?
Third, I've long felt challenged by Christ's admonition that it's easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The secular psychologist William James had some surprisingly similar observations. What does it mean to be a "rich man" in modern American society?
So, how do those three pieces fit together into a biotech/legal thriller? Read Blood Brothers and find out.
What is your greatest inspiration as a writer?
Deadlines. There are lots of things that inspire me as a storyteller--unusual people I meet, compelling cases I litigate, interesting articles in the news and so on. But what actually inspires me to sit down, focus, and turn the stories running around my head into books? My publisher's deadlines.
If Blood Brothers became a movie – who would you cast in the lead roles?
Good question. I have an unlimited budget, right? In that case:
Tom Cruise: Ben Corbin, the handsome but not particularly tall lawyer who tries the case at the heart of the book
Penelope Cruz: Ben's lovely wife--and reluctant forensic accountant--Noelle (This might be a little uncomfortable for Tom, but I get to make the casting decisions, not him.)
Adrien Brody: Russian-American detective Sergei Spassky
Uma Thurman: Elena Kamenev, FBI agent and Sergei's on-and-off love interest
Cilian Murphy: the vile cybercriminal George Kulish
I'm drawing a blank on who should play Gunnar and Karl Bjornsen, the brothers of the title. Know any six-foot-plus actors in their late fifties with weightlifter arms and faces like the Old Man of the Mountain (before he collapsed)?
What was your greatest obstacle to overcome in writing this novel?
Self-discipline. This book took a lot longer to write than it should have, mostly because I didn't have a deadline at first due to a little contract mix-up.
How would you suggest that aspiring novelists avoid similar obstacles?
Give yourself a deadline. Better yet, have someone else give you a deadline and hold you accountable. If you don't have a publisher (who will generously provide this service for free), have your spouse or a good friend do it and give him/her the right to fine you if you blow your deadline. It works.