My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ah…sarcastic narrators. This book’s got one.
“I gripped my right ear and twisted, which is how I tune out idiots.”
Unfortunately, it’s apparent that everyone except John Corey (our fearless, convalescing-from-getting-shot-on-the-job narrator/hero) is an idiot. I sorta wish that his ear had been turned off for some larger chunks of the book — because the reader has to wade through a lot of red herrings and schtuff to get to the meat of the book.
For example, getting a tour of Plum Island, the spot where world-threatening viruses are studied and possibly stolen, shouldn’t be so long and tedious. For an example of that: there are numerous mentions of the ospreys — but don’t get all excited. It’s not a clue. Apparently the bird has nothing more to do with the story than a narrative motif, which doesn’t quite come off for me. The tour of Plum Island takes 100 pages and by the time you reach the end, witty repartee like
“I had to ask, ‘But is the female screwworm fulfilled?’
‘She must be,’ Zollner replied. ‘She never mates again.’
Beth offered, ‘There’s another way to look at that.'”
is just a little frustrating. You want INFORMATION, not wit, by that point.
That being said, the characters are certainly likeable (you know, except for the ones you’re not supposed to like.)
And even the false leads are intriguing. Pirate treasure, virus hunting, international intrigue, historical implications, etc. You just can’t get much better than that. The whole thing is an adventurer’s wet dream. It’s fun to go and figure stuff out along with Corey — though the turn might be a little to easy to catch. I mean, I got the gist before they left Plum Island…which might explain why a lot of the copious detail felt, well, copious.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.