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Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Malcharist Review


In the words of the late Bon Scott (no relation to Paul John Scott) "The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty." (Ain't No Fun Waitin' Round to be a Millionaire)

Griffin Wagner is a frustrated freelance reporter working for a men's magazine in Minneapolis. Shivani Patel plys her trade over 1200 miles away in Manhattan. She's a medical ghostwriter working, in the main, for Krøhn-McGill, the world’s largest drug-maker.

Her job is to turn bad news (poor outcomes in clinical trials) into good news. This manipulation pays both her and Krøhn-McGill well.

The scene is set, as all good mysteries writers know. Male, female at different ends of the spectrum, a brief encounter, a loss of communication, then rekindling.

It's the classic format and has stood many writers since the dawning of time.

But wait, isn't Malcharist a mystery that delves into the murky practices of drug companies and ghostwriting PR companies?

Simply put, no.... it's so much more than that.

The author, Paul John Scott (PJ), has crafted something quite brilliant here. If you're familiar with Glaxo's 329 study, you're halfway on board with PJ. Those not familiar with such underhand edits will soon pick up the mantle and run with what PJ offers. He carefully lays out what ghostwriting is all about in a manner that is easy on the eye and not so taxing on the brain.

Malcharist is the reel of film, your eyes are the projector, PJ directs his characters into your mind, which is, in essence, your own personal silver screen.

There's twists and turns, as one would expect from the mystery genre. To an unskilled eye it may all sound far-fetched, the worrying thing in all of this is it has gone on, it goes on, and it will continue to go on. Don't believe me? Google 'Spravato'.

I read the book over three days, corresponded with PJ via email to offer my congratulations, at this point the book hadn't gone to print. He, as a debut fictional writer, was chomping at the bit and looking forward to seeing his work in print.

I'm now looking forward to seeing it on the silver screen...for real.

It deserves it.

PJ, as we say in England, 'knows his onions'. Stumbling on Study 329, as I did many years ago, took a lot of figuring out and years of research and many articles (via my blog). I'm familiar enough now with how the drug companies operate and employ the Patel's of this world. I also know that there are some great journalists out there. Griffin Wagner is one such journalist, albeit in fictional form.

For me, at least, Wagner is a male version of Shelley Jofre, Neither Wagner (Nice surname by the way) or Jofre were unable to let go of what they had found whilst reading through clinical trial data. Both untrained eyes, (medical knowledge), that smelled a rat.

Paul's new novel, Malcharist, is available via Amazon in the UK here and the US here

Bob Fiddaman

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