By Vanessa V. Friedman
March 03, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

A Slow Burning

B+

Medical science — once the stuff of plodding mysteries — is now inspiring a new generation of cutting-edge thrillers. Stanley Pottinger’s A Slow Burning begins with three tragedies in the past (one boy sees his father lynched; another sees his father murdered; a young woman loses her lover) and then scoots decades to the present. One of the men — now poised to win a Nobel — has invented a machine that can pinpoint cerebral levels of racial hatred. This discovery brings him into contact with the other two; all are soon caught up in a vortex of prejudice, love, and revenge that culminates in actual mind medling. Indeed, the science is far more interesting than the book’s rather pedantic exploration of race relations. Who knew molecular biology could be so exciting? B+

A Slow Burning

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