The Ponce Factor Book Review

A doctor is faced with the ultimate challenge: to save the world from immortality
The Pumice Factor is a gripping page-turner – a high-tension medical thriller with even higher stakes. The author J. D. Crawford has written a brilliant story. The story focuses on the responsibilities and reactions of the characters within their own belief systems, while maintaining a frantic pace of world events.

A catastrophe has taken place and its consequences threaten human civilization. But the disaster is not the one that anyone would have ever doubtful: a newly discovered antioxidant compound is so powerful that it practically stops the aging process and cures metabolic issues (such as diabetes and coronary heart issue). It may seem like a blessing, but civilization is not organized to support eight billion immortals. Dr. Medgar Landros must respond to the reaction of the United States to “The Juice.”

A chemist from the private sector (juice drinks) develops the antioxidant at random, and the small juice company increases production and puts the product on the market. It is food, in the worst matter a dietary supplement, and no pharmaceutical examination is necessary. Soon, the rumor mill is bubbling on social networks. Riots and looting are happening around the world until supply chains can catch up with demand. Landros carries out in vain worst-matter models of immediate impact on the health system, social security, pension funds, the workplace, agriculture, etc.

And then it goes down. The potential of the juice feeds on the megalomania of a sociopathic white supremacist pastor. She organizes a cult to take control of “the sap” for a selected team of VIPs who are themselves at the top. And their cult is politically savvy. They aim to anchor their elitism in the law.

 

Landros recognizes this law and this cult must be stopped. As a Navy veteran, he is up to the task of doing unthinkable things for the common good. He asks a retired Navy Seal to help him with his Main Plan. He also recruits a journalist to gather evidence for a revealing article about the cult and the true purpose of their legislative program. Landros’ daughter, Josie, is well placed to help the journalist from a safe distance. At least, that’s what he thinks.

The Ponce factor is immediately attractive, with a strong voice and a skillful management of a complex narrative. Landros tells the story. His own scenes are described in the first person, then he slips into an omniscient point of view to report what everyone is doing. The method works well to keep the reader informed and immersed in the flow of the story.

 

The characters are round and realistic, their motivations plausible and their actions credible. Landros explains very early on: “I had absolutely nothing left to lose… that’s why they underestimated me. They forgot that the most peril enemy is the one for whom we action something…so much bigger than him that his passed away is completely insignificant next to it… This basic rule of war is … why Saigon is now called Ho Chi Minh City. And that’s why they’re reading this.”

The antagonist, Pastor Nero, is an evil joy, and Landro’s daughter, Josie, a feisty benefactor with just the right amount of youthful zeal and bad decision-making.

The construction of the world is perfect and the scientific explanation of how the juice works is understandable and convincing. Although it can’t be that simple in real life (can it?) to develop such a product, in the world of history, everything is linked. The impact of social media, the behavior of governments and the emergence of the ugliest human qualities, as well as the noblest, all seem reasonable.

Although it is not presented as Science Fiction, this book would appeal to Fans of other speculative Thrillers with a scientific premise, such as the works of Michael Crichton. I recommend The Ponce Factor to anyone looking for an engaging and in-depth read.