stars-4-0._V192240704_I read “The Torch Is Passed: A Harding Family Story” first and I loved the book so much I decide to read “The Pharm House.”

Bill Powers crafts outstanding stories, and I look forward to reading the next one. When you read his books, I encourage you to purchase “The Pharm House” first, because it is the first installment in the Hardy Family story.

Twelve years ago, Nicholas Harding had joined Marshall Pharmaceuticals as a bench-level scientist with a new Ph.D. in toxicology. One year ago, Harding was promoted to Director of Toxicology and now heads a group of 75 people. He is the highest ranking black man in the company, and he has one more goal that he wants to reach- Vice-President. Arthur Kronan fills that role now, but Nicholas is his right-hand man, and Arthur considers him an equal. Rumor is that Nicholas will succeed Arthur when he retires in a few years, and that has caused resentment in some quarters.

Harding is stunned when he learns that Kronan committed suicide shortly after he sent a confusing email to Nicholas in the middle of the night. He is even more puzzled when he seemingly receives more emails from the dead man.

Someone is playing with him, but who? And why?

Harding has no respect for Don Marshall, who holds a large percentage of stock in the company. When Nicholas is called into Jack O’Connor’s office, he is surprised to find him there, as well as CEO, Grant Michner. Previously,Jack told Nicholas that he wanted him to take over as acting VP, rather than immediately moving into the spot Arthur had groomed him for. Now, the next day, Jack was telling him that Don Marshall suggested that they should go ahead with the succession and he would take over as vice-president, although it is clear to Harding that O’Connor does not want to do it and that Don Marshall is thoroughly enjoying Jack’s discomfort.

It isn’t long before Harding realizes that things are not what they appear to be in the company. Marshall Pharmaceuticals is involved in a new project, in conjunction with Tanaka Pharmaceuticals in Japan. Tanaka has done the preliminary work on MR-548, an anti-viral agent. They have provided all the initial testing results to Marshall, who will soon start a clinical trial with humans in the US.

One day he comes home to find Dr. Beverly Coston, Food and Drug Administration Field Investigator and Agent Barry Keenan, U.S. Marshal’s office waiting for him. To his shock and dismay, he discovers that they are investigating him. Within a short time, he realizes that he has been set up as a patsy and made to look like he is up to his eyeballs in illegal activities. There is a plethora of damning evidence which includes forged memos, reports, and emails. Unless he can find out who was behind this and offer proof of his innocence, his career in the industry will be ruined, and even worse – he may do time in a federal prison. He has no idea who he can trust, outside his family.

His mother, Dorothy, calls on an old friend who had helped her in the past. Beth Cowlings enters the picture as Nicholas’s lawyer. She seems like an unlikely choice. First, she is a white person, and Nicholas questions that. Second, she doesn’t portray the part of a fearsome advocate. She looks like a piece of fluff; she wears white all the time, and she has snow white shoulder length hair and a mild, southern manner that is deceiving and makes many dismiss her.

The title “The Pharm House,” sounds like “The Farm House” which is as deceptive as Beth Cowling. This book is a masterpiece of duplicity and treachery in high places. It is filled with family and friends who have great love and loyalty; it shows what people will do for love—as well as for greed and power. It tests how far love will go in the face of moral convictions. There is also a sprinkling of the history of the struggle of the black people in the US, revealed through thoughts and conversation in an unintrusive way.

I highly recommend this book and believe that Bill Powers will be as successful as an author, as he has been in other avenues of his life. There is only one reason that I am giving this work four stars, instead of the five stars that the storyline deserves. I read this on my Kindle, and I found editing errors that would not be acceptable in a best-seller. I noticed this immediately, and realized that this factor was not an issue in “The Torch is Passed.”

Don’t miss this great book! You can purchase it on by clicking here