book cover of Bad Chemistry

Bad Chemistry

(1997)
A novel by

 
 
During the 1980s, Gary Krist won a solid reputation as a decidedly literary author. In collections such as Bone by Bone and The Garden State, his characters wrestle with a variety of down-to-earth dilemmas--family discord, bum relationships, career confusions--and their success or failure at resolving these problems makes for elegant and intelligent narratives. This time around, however, Krist applies his psychological deftness to a more pulse-pounding genre, attempting to produce that chimerical creature, the thinking person's thriller. Has he succeeded?

That he has. Bad Chemistry revolves around Kate Theodorus, a former beat cop turned social worker. After a discomforting opening--a party at which a dog is mysteriously set aflame--Kate's husband Joel heads out to a convenience store for some microwave popcorn. Hours pass, then days, and still he fails to return. Has Joel been kidnapped? Has something gone seriously wrong with his importing business (which does, after all, sell "natural" pharmaceuticals from the Amazon basin)? With the aid of the most unappealing 14-year-old computer hacker in existence, Kate takes the case into her own hands, swiftly stumbling across cybercrime, robbery, and a selection of corpses. As the mystery of Joel's disappearance unravels, Krist keeps the pages turning very nicely. What's more, he makes the missing-person motif work metaphorically, as a figure for all of our inherently ambiguous relationships: "What a mystery marriage is," Kate thinks, "any marriage, every marriage. You try to make it good, but you never really know if you're succeeding." Fusing psychological insight with a cops-and-robbers plot isn't easy, but for the most part, Krist has pulled off this bit of literary chemistry with admirable expertise.



Praise for this book

"Fresh, fast-moving, compelling." - Jonathan Kellerman


Used availability for Gary Krist's Bad Chemistry

Hardback Editions

December 1997 : USA Hardback
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Title: Bad Chemistry
Author(s): Gary Krist
ISBN: 0-679-44931-0 / 978-0-679-44931-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

January 2000 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: Bad Chemistry
Author(s): Gary Krist
ISBN: 0-425-17300-3 / 978-0-425-17300-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: Bad Chemistry
Author(s): Gary Krist
ISBN: 1-85702-766-3 / 978-1-85702-766-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


March 1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: Bad Chemistry
Author(s): Gary Krist
ISBN: 1-85702-765-5 / 978-1-85702-765-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK