Reviewed by Jessi Buchmann

In early 90’s San Francisco, Sarah Striker is entering the liberal scene. Her main objective is to send money home to her sick ‘Pops’ for treating the cancer he acquired while taking depression medication. Sarah’s days are full of interesting stories about her thieving junkie roommates and her night adventures publishing an underground ‘zine’.

Her ‘zine’ begins to take on a new purpose when she gets a job with a pharmaceutical company and begins to exploit them to create diseases to treat with pre-manufactured drugs. Sarah’s story takes a turn when she begins to realize that she is close to becoming the victim and becomes more engrossed in this corporate world.

Pharmacology by Christopher Herz has elements of surprise and drama. There are points where the supporting characters are intriguing and yet, it lacks development; I didn’t have any strong feelings about or connections to the characters. While Herz touches on counter-cultural and interpersonal relationships, he could and should have written the main character as a man. I didn’t find any feminine qualities in Sarah nor was she all that interesting. She was more of a ‘normal’ person with crazy happenings around her.

The thoughts and flow of the story are at times random. There are several references to quotes from rap lyrics that do not flow with the main ideas. Likewise, Herz could benefit by listening to Word’s grammar advice regarding fragments as the writing was clipped and at times awkward. At a short 214 pages, the book could stand more character development and further research.

Pharmacology is not a read for everyone; its focus is a narrow group of readers. The novel takes you for an interesting ride but leaves out the soul of Herz’s purpose. The real surprise comes at the end of the novel and then lies flat. While I give Herz credit for attempting to write a female character, I would say this novel is unmemorable.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Jessi Buchmann lives in Beaverton, Oregon and works as a Project Manager. When she is not reading she can be found: writing, painting or wreaking havoc on her house doing home repairs.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Balzer + Bray. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.