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Book review: Dan Wells provides hysterical satirical fiction in 'Extreme Makeover'

Posted November 15

"EXTREME MAKEOVER" by Dan Wells, Tom Doherty Associates, $17.99, 415 pages (f)

"Extreme Makeover" is a satirical novel by Utah-raised author Dan Wells, who is best known for his I Am Not a Serial Killer trilogy. "Extreme Makeover" comments on the development of the beauty industry from the perspective of Lyle Fontanelle, the chief scientist of a major cosmetics company. In the process of developing a revolutionary anti-aging product, Lyle discovers he’s actually managed to create a lotion that overwrites DNA and stumbles upon clones of himself wandering around Manhattan.

Horrified by what he has done, Lyle wants to destroy the product immediately, but his superiors have other ideas, and he finds himself fighting a battle between conscience and greed as plans are made to release his experiment to the public as the ultimate beauty product. This quickly spirals out of control as other beauty companies steal the formula, the federal government attempts to leverage it as a weapon, angry activists begin to protest and Lyle's clones run amok.

Reading this book is comparable to standing by and watching a train crash. A person desperately may want to look away because nothing good could possibly come of it. However, morbid curiosity prompts keeping the pages turning late into the night. Each chapter begins with a countdown to the end of the world, giving the feeling of intense dread as a reader might fight through the suspense, and Wells does not disappoint.

“Extreme Makeover” is riddled with Wells’ trademark humor and harsh observations about the nature of humanity, gracefully tied together with phenomenal writing, comprehensive world building and beautifully executed plot development. It’s arguably one of Wells’ best work.

This book contains strong language and suggestive sexual situations.

Madelyn Conrad is digital marketing strategist and the creater of makeupandmindfulness.com, a lifestyle blog about living mindfully in your twenties, which is set to launch on December 1st, 2016. Contact: madelynn@makeupandmindfulness.com

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