Malcharist, A book review by Patrick D. Hahn.
What Paddy Chayefsky’s Network was to the Twentieth Century, Paul John Scott’s Malcharist is to the Twenty-First. This is a novel that takes the reader deep inside the Pharmaceutical Empire which invents diseases, creates “patient advocacy organizations” to sell these diseases to the public, manufactures and controls the evidence base purporting to show their nostrums are safe and effective remedies for these diseases, relentlessly gaslights those unfortunate victims harmed by their patent medicines, and smears all who question any of this as “Luddites, anti-vaxxers, tin-foil hatters, and Scientologists.”
Scott interleaves the stories of the chief protagonists — a hack journalist who inadvertently stumbles onto the biggest story of his career, a brilliant but disillusioned ghostwriter for the drugmakers, a sociopathic talk-show psychiatrist, along with several others, to paint a vivid portrait of a world probably few of us even suspect exists — a world of fantastic opulence kings would envy, along with gutter-level cynicism that would gag a goat.
This novel will swallow you whole. Beginning with the first few pages, a feeling of dread begins to take hold, a sensation that only intensifies as the author takes us through one plot twist after another until the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys becomes hopelessly blurred, while the author’s meticulous attention to detail creates a sensation as close to virtual reality as the printed page will ever get.
To paraphrase Aristotle, you may not be interested in the drug companies, but that won’t stop the drug companies from taking an interest in you.
This is a novel everybody needs to read.
Patrick D. Hahn
Author, Madness and Genetic Determinism
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