Cover image for Knockout mouse : a Bill Damen Silicon Valley mystery
Knockout mouse : a Bill Damen Silicon Valley mystery
Calder, James.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
272 pages ; 20 cm
Format :


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Knockout Mouse is the gripping debut of a mystery series, set in the high-stakes world of biotechnology. When a dinner guest dies suddenly of an allergic reaction to a food she hasn't eaten, dot-com casualty Bill Damen goes from suspect to sleuth, embroiled in a murder with far-reaching consequences. He follows a trail that leads from cancer research to genetic engineering to secret rogue experiments, as he uncovers motives, means, and characters that could only exist in state-of-the-art Silicon Valley.

Author Notes

James Calder is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bill Damen, a casualty of the dot-com crash, has returned to the business of making industrial films and documentaries. After a day of filming at Kumar Biotechnics, he attends his girlfriend Jenny's dinner party, where he meets scientist Sheila Harros and feels an instant connection between them. Unfortunately, Sheila dies later that evening of anaphylactic shock caused by her severe allergy to shellfish. Sheila's family accuses Jenny of negligence in preparing the meal, even though Jenny was aware of the allergy and did not serve shellfish. To protect Jenny and later himself, Damen investigates Sheila's death, poking into her work at another biotech company. This fast-paced debut thriller offers fascinating details about the biotechnology industry along with likable good guys, nasty villains, a well-developed sense of place, a little romance, and plenty of plot twists. --Sue O'Brien

Publisher's Weekly Review

When Silicon Valley filmmaker Bill Damen learns that a guest at his girlfriend's dinner party has died, allegedly of food poisoning, the natural-born PI goes into investigative "stealth mode"; a quick visit to the dead woman's biotech company, LifeScience Molecules, has him convinced he's looking at a coverup, if not downright murder. James Calder follows the determined Bill through state of the art genetics labs and agricultural research departments led by brilliant, ambitious scientists willing to do anything to get to the top in his well-researched and timely debut, Knockout Mouse. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This effervescent series debut features Bill Damen, a San Franciscan cameraman who makes his living creating promotional films and documentaries - many in "nearby" Silicon Valley. When an attractive new acquaintance employed there dies of an allergic reaction shortly after eating at Bill's girlfriend's place, Bill feels compelled to investigate. It soon transpires that the victim had crucial information her biotechnology employers will do most anything, including murder, to retrieve. With some telling California backdrops, a few sinister heavies, and solid prose with a memorable kick, this is recommended for both regional and larger public libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.