Toxic Intent is a fictional drama by Mrig Trishna about the professional ethics of individuals and the moral responsibilities of corporations. The plot follows Dr. Meg Morgan, an exceptional young scientist working for Synergy Chemical Corporation, who has been contracted to synthesize new chemicals for a major consumer product company. Dr. Morgan, who starts the novel as an ambitious workaholic, finds herself thrust into a realm of shady morality, where corporate greed and ethics wage a constant – and disconcerting – war.
Dr. Morgan is elated to hear that her hard work has paid off when she learns she’s won a prestigious award for up-and-coming scientists. She finds her work fulfilling, respects her co-workers and superiors, and keeps herself emotionally distant from close relationships – everything is as she thinks it should be. But when Synergy Chemical Corporation lands a billion dollar deal to provide a new chemical called YZ 2001, Meg’s life runs into an alarming number of professional and personal problems. One is Nick Gallagher, an old flame that arrives back in her life with unexpected results. Another is her increasing uneasiness about the moral ramifications of YZ 2001’s apparent toxicity – and the realization that her friends and mentors might not be the noble people she’s always believed them to be.
It is clear that Trishna possesses thorough knowledge about the subjects of Toxic Intent’s plot (chemical engineering, scientific and professional ethics, chemistry, etc.) and either has extensive personal experience in those fields or did some incredibly impressive research. The characters – scientists, businessmen, and blue-collar workers alike – speak and act with credible authority concerning their fields of expertise.
Dialogue and description also flow reasonably well, providing a convincing picture of the surrounding settings and a sense of authenticity to a majority of character interactions. Along the same lines, certain characters are well-developed with defined backgrounds and apparent, if single-minded, motives.
On the other hand, Toxic Intent would have greatly benefited from another edit or three. While Trishna is a comprehensible, concise writer, this book didn’t get the professional editing attention it deserved, resulting in grammatical problems, irritating word repetitions, and occasional instances of poor sentence structure in the finished product. The story regularly switches character point-of-view without warning as well, often in the space of a paragraph or even sentence, which leads to a fair amount of confusion for the reader.
A portion of the characters were on the flat side, including the romantic interest, Nick Gallagher, while others developed in a blunt, clumsy fashion, with chunks of background falling from their mouths or thoughts with little buildup or subtlety. This resulted in a number of characters coming off as frustratingly static and occupying unimportant roles.
Despite these issues, Toxic Intent was an agreeable read that kept me turning the page. The ending is predictable and abrupt, but largely satisfying, and Mrig Trishna’s tale serves as an effective look at the fine line between profit and ethics. Toxic Intent is thought-provoking, compelling, and educational, and with further editing and writing practice, Mrig Trishna is sure to provide some excellent novels in the future.