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(Literally torturing.) “I just don’t agree.”As this moony, sweet exchange shows, Meyer’s heart is still in Forks, Washington, despite the change of genre. The chemist’s name is Alex, or at least that’s what she goes by — she’s on the run as the book begins, sleeping in a gas mask every night, surrounded by elaborate booby traps designed to kill anyone who gets near her. She spends a lot of time buying peaches — with some effort, a deadly toxin can be extracted from their pits — but not much dating or hanging out.
Then she gets a message, offering her a chance to come in from the cold.
It’s a thriller for adults (Little, Brown, 518 pp., ***½ out of four stars) in the vein of David Baldacci or Lee Child, pitting a scientist against the shadowy government figures who once employed her, then tried to eliminate her. But there are exchanges like this:“I am intrinsically incompatible with being an object of romantic interest,” says the lovely, ingenious, kind-hearted title character, who seems to us eminently compatible with being an object of romantic interest.“I understand you,” is the heartfelt reply of the man she’s recently finished torturing.
The cellulose fibers of the shroud are coated with a thin carbohydrate layer of starch fractions, various sugars, and other impurities. Rogers and Anna Arnoldi, in a joint paper of 2003 proposed that amines from a recently deceased human body may have undergone Maillard reactions with this carbohydrate layer within a reasonable period of time, before liquid decomposition products stained or damaged the cloth.
The gases produced by a dead body are extremely reactive chemically and within a few hours, in an environment such as a tomb, a body starts to produce heavier amines in its tissues such as putrescine and cadaverine.
Is it real, or only a more subtle attempt on her life?
The uncertain answer lands her on the run with a pair of dreamy brothers, and one of them, a doe-eyed schoolteacher named Daniel, falls in love with her on sight, becoming her guide back into the realm of human contact. Alex’s foes within the government never quite come into focus in the third act, one lesson she didn’t take from Baldacci or Child. is consistently fast-paced fun, especially the way that Alex’s scientific genius gives her an array of potions — she’s small, but you don’t want to get within swiping distance of the rings on her fingers — that verge on the magical.
This was possible because linen is strongly resistant to dyes but cotton is not.