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Book Review: The Elixir: A Bud Hutchins Thriller

The Elixir: A Bud Hutchins Thriller. J.B. Michaels. Independent/Harrison and James Publishing, September 9, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-book, 178 Pages.

Reviewed by Stephanie Tilton.

In the second novel of the Bud Hutchins series, readers will get caught up in action and adventure. J.B. Michaels’ novel, The Elixir, is a flawless combination of suspense and sci-fi, with a touch of fantasy. The novel is set in Chicago and follows Bud Hutchins and his android assistant Bert on a whirlwind adventure. Maeve, a monk of the Order of St. Michael, is Bud's friend. She obtains damaging supernatural powers that could cause her annihilation. Bud sets out to find a cure for her ailments and bring her back to her former state.

While awaiting help for Maeve, Bud receives a call to investigate a murder at the Chicago Metro University. The only witness to the crime, a student named Ivy, agrees to help Bud search for the murderer. During their investigation of the campus, they stumble upon a secret laboratory full of ancient artifacts and the beginnings of a mysterious concoction. This concoction could hold the answer Bud has been seeking and the cure for Maeve’s ailments.

In the midst of the murder on campus, a poltergeist wreaks havoc on Chicago. First assuming the identity of Al Capone, it wounds Maeve while she is helping two policemen on duty. It then continues to hunt Maeve by taking the identity of Resurrection Mary. Bert comes to Maeve’s rescue, but she is severely injured after the two battles. Now, the race is on to find a cure before it’s too late.

Using the Sears Tower as a makeshift laboratory, Bud hopes he can save Maeve. His attempt at a Dr. Frankenstein experiment is unsuccessful. The resulting failure leaves Maeve in danger and short-circuits Bert. Now, the damaged android is racing through the city destroying anything he perceives as a threat. Bud must stop him before he injures more people.

Meanwhile, Ivy has discovered the creator of the secret concoction face down in his own scientific failure. He awakens with a split personality revealing even more about his identity and the connection to the murder. Ivy flees the scene, determined to save the Elixir. In one final conflict, Bud must once again make a life-changing decision. How far will Bud go to save his friend? 

J.B. Michaels keeps readers on their toes with his narrative and plot twists. Each page is action packed and full of mystery until the end. His writing showcases his extensive knowledge of history and science fiction events. His descriptions of the historical artifacts around the school are strong. This is a wonderful addition to the Young Adult genre and the perfect read for anyone who enjoys sci-fi thrillers. The story encompasses the compassion and bonds of true friendship.


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