Amanda Michaels, a teenager with genetically altered telomeres, was the sole survivor of a jet crash.(Telomeres are the protective tip of the human chromosome controlling cell life-and death). Tragic circumstances befall her family and one of her family members becomes a bargaining chip. When all else fails, she decides vigilante justice is her only option.
It seems unthinkable: Andy Michaels trusted paralegal Angie Tipton having an affair with Paul Franklin, Andy's litigation arch rival--the Hemispheres defense attorney from the jet crash cases. But something attracted Angie and Franklin to the taboo affair. Angie doesn't realize that Franklin, a married attorney, has ulterior motives besides a secret, torrid sexual relationship.
Competing intelligence agencies will not rest without purloining information about how to extend cell life, which may in turn extend human life. The US realizes that being first to commercially develop medications that can extend human life means huge economic benefits for US companies, and the government approves nearly unlimited funding to carry out the mandate. However a closely guarded secret is the CIA's plan to weaponize telomere breakthroughs, and this is also revealed in 'Gag Reflex.'
The news media reports on a 200M secret payment from the US to Hemispheres airline, creating a massive nightmare for the FBI, CIA and for trial attorney Andy Michaels, Amanda's uncle. Andy's worst fears are reailized: his former clients' recovered millions, but were unaware that the US paid the airline. Why? Solarez, the FBI counter intelligence agent, knows that the leak will be a huge problem but doesn't know who is behind it.
It is two years since the crash. Amanda Michaels was the teenage lone survivor of a jet crash, who overcomes neck fractures, brain injury and amnesia, and then learns that her bio-medical researcher dad had developed secret breakthroughs involving chromosomal telomeres. Telomeres control cell life-and death, and the US and competing intelligence agencies vie for economic access to his discoveries that could extend human life to age 125, but Amanda also suspects she was treated with the telomere elixir before the crash. At the end of book one (Taming the Telomeres) Amanda learns she will soon welcome a baby brother named Justin, through a surrogate arranged by her dad. In the Prologue, detailing a scene deep inside the book, Amanda is on a bullet train nearing Beijing. What daring plan has she embarked on? Why? Who is her compatriot assisting her, and how does she know how handle firearms? Answers sprinkle out in the ensuing opening chapters.
[2015 Fiction Thriller Gold Award--Readers' Favorite Int'l Book Award Contest]
A survivor. A soulmate. A secret, affecting telomeres--the protective tip of the human chromosome that controls cell life. And death.
High school senior Amanda Michaels suffers amnesia with regard to everything before the jet crash. She loses her parents and her memory in the aftermath, but miraculously survives. While recovering, Amanda strikes up a whirlwind romance with a young hospital volunteer, but only recalls a haunting series of flashbacks of her near death experiences (NDE’s). Meanwhile, her uncle, high profile DC trial attorney Andy Michaels represents her and the families of numerous passengers against Hemispheres Airways. Once Amanda learns she may possess biological secrets that competing intelligence agencies will kill for, she has no idea who to trust, unwittingly caught up in a web of biological espionage. The fast paced story moves between Middleburg, Virginia horse farms, Washington, DC, New York city and points between. A series of stunning twists unwind along the path to the unforeseen climax.
The reader first learns the back story about prominent D.C. Attorney Andy Michaels here. His ex-wife Sarah has left him a message on his voice mail, concerned about him in light of the losses of his brother and sister in law in the crash. Things didn't end well with Sarah, who worked for a prominent U.S. Senator. Rebecca (Becca) is now his love interest, she runs a clothing boutique in Georgetown. Meanwhile, Homeland Security agents visit Amanda's hospital room. They call it a "standard procedure." Hmmm.
Seeing a family member in a coma, and praying that they will come out of it intact. Amanda's relatives get to see her and interact for the first time. Will she come out of the coma, and will she have all her cognitive abilities are the worries for any family. And the media await any word from the family.
Traumatic brain injuries happen every week of the year and the recoveries vary from devastating all the way to remarkable. As a trial attorney I've worked with the families of multiple victims and this background helped inform the writing of this chapter in which Amanda Michaels comes out of a coma, surrounded by her doctors. She suffers amnesia from everything before the jet crash which is not unusual in brain injury cases, but...the question is when her memory will return, if it all. Moreover, Amanda has suffered neck fractures which could have paralyzed her permanently. Fortunately, she does not suffer paralysis but the orthopedic surgeons have surgically placed in immobilization skull "halo" to prevent neck and head movements while her neck fractures heal. This chapter is the beginning of a remarkable journey, because Amanda is the only survivor of the commuter jet crash and there are innumerable questions not only about her past, but the nation's media knows that she may hold clues to what happened before this tragic commuter jet crash. Was this a terrorist act? What happened to cause the crash? Does she possess any answers?
When a positive identification may be required on a relative, we imagine the worst: an untimely death. But there are rare occasions where identification is required on a live person and that's what this chapter deals with. Andy Michaels believes that the lone survivor of the Hemispheres jet crash may be his niece, Amanda Michaels. He appears at the hospital hoping to confirm her I.D.
The unidentified executives discuss the potential liabilities in multi-millions to compensate the families of the passengers killed in the Hemispheres Airways crash. One realizes it may be his last day...his last look at the environs. Why? What did he do wrong? That is not revealed, not yet. The boss enters the meeting and reviews the executive summary and learns that the costs may be 160-200 million dollars. The value of the Phoenix technology may easily exceed these costs, but the reader does not know what that technology is, or who these men are. Why must they keep their information from being leaked to the media? Ahh, these answers don't unfold until the very end of Taming the Telomeres. Really enjoyed writing this chapter to create suspense.
The idea that one article (Amanda's hamsa/hand necklace) can be linked so quickly and readily to a single person (in the world) was the thought behind this chapter. The contrast between so much heartbreak for other families, and one ray of hope for another was the other part explored in this chapter about Amanda's amazing survival.
This chapter juxtaposes the viewpoint from several perspectives. Dale Peterson has his 15 minutes of fame as the rescue worker who"saves" Amanda Michaels who turns out to be the lone survivor of this jet crash. This chapter introduces Perry Carson the DC area reporter, an acquaintance of Andy Michaels, as well as several other family members and those close to the Michaels family. Middleburg Academy has a "Headmaster," and several of Amanda's good friends react to the stunning news that there is a single jet crash survivor, and it may be Amanda. The key identifying clue is the Hamsa (hand) necklace that the young survivor was wearing. The hand of fate title of this chapter is a double entendre relating to the necklace.
When disaster strikes, we are often glued to our television sets soaking in every detail. In this chapter, Andy Michaels needs to absorb the sobering news that close family members may have perished in a Hemispheres Airways jet crash. I was attempting to convey immediacy and spinning of the events when something this terrible happens to a family member. Middleburg Academy is a private school with centuries of customs and of traditions. The chapter explores the reaction of the high school classmates of Amanda Michaels', after social media reports that she was amongst the passengers on the doomed Hemispheres Airways jet that has crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Disasters happen to other people and we read about it in the newspapers or we hear about it on the news. So what happens when a personal injury lawyer suffers disaster to his own family, rather than to one of his many clients. Attorney Andy Michaels, the "Prince of Torts" is a well-known attorney in the Washington, D.C. area, after the broad media coverage of his handling of the big 9/11 civil suits on behalf of Pentagon workers killed in the 9/11 jet crash. He learns his brother, sister-in-law, and niece may have been passengers on a Hemispheres Airways flight that has crashed en route to NYC.
Andy Michaels tried the only 9/11 civil case, suing one airline and various security contractors on behalf of Pentagon victim families, sealing his career as a fighter. This chapter begins at his small "boutique" law firm in Georgetown. Andy's day starts routinely but it doesn't end that way.
A young girl that the reader comes to learn is Amanda Michaels has a seemingly random series of Near Death Experience flashes. Did they all really occur in her past? NDE's are not well understood, but many young people who have lost their heartbeat, and come back from these near death events, have described what occurs in their NDE's. TTT does explore this phenomenon. In the next sequence in this first chapter from Taming The Telomeres, this young girl is hovering in an operating room setting during brain or skull surgery of a female patient. But the surgery is on herself! How can this occur? Is she alive? How can she experience this out of body event? The first chapter ends with these unanswered questions.
Taming the Telomeres (TTT) is a thriller that explores near death experiences (NDE's) of a high school senior, Amanda Michaels. The foreword to my novel explains the background of my interest in NDE's and how I researched the issue. There are several books which explored the strange similar stories that children have reported who have flatlined, and had no heartbeat, but who were revived.
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