A debut mystery tells the story of a group of scientists trapped in a remote compound in the Amazon.
Former Army Ranger Karl Shepherd has only been at the Inn—a tiny research outpost in the remote Amazon—for a couple of weeks when one of the biologists disappears. Shepherd and a few of his colleagues hunt for the scientist, who had left the Inn to gather samples of a newly discovered plant that the team believes might provide a cure for Alzheimer’s. The searchers find the biologist’s corpse with a gunshot wound to the skull. Back at the Inn, head scientist John Alderton informs the assembled researchers and staff that the station must be evacuated due to an early start of the rainy season. The only problem is the communication satellite is down, and if it can’t be fixed, it might be weeks or even months before a supply boat is sent to evacuate them. In the meantime, Alderton and the other leaders look for the murder weapon with the help of the quickly exonerated Shepherd while the other scientists and naturalists grumble and accuse one another of foul play. With a cure for Alzheimer’s on the line, the professional ambitions of everyone at the Inn come to the surface. A cure could mean riches and a Nobel Prize. As Allie Temple, the Inn’s head of operations, explains to Shepherd, “The presence of the rainforest exacerbates existing tensions. You haven’t been here long, but believe me, it can really get to you.” Yet would any of the team be willing to kill for the cure? Or is there something even darker lurking in the jungle? Moore excels at communicating the claustrophobia and suspicion of this tiny community stuck in one of the world’s deadliest landscapes. Allie tells Shepherd: “At first it’s the little things, the endless insects, the constant heat, the noises. Then the sheer presence of it, the immensity of it, can overwhelm you. Eventually, it can break you down.” While the characters are rather conventional, the premise makes for a perfect locked-room mystery, and the author plays the various tempers and vanities of her scientists against one another with ingenuity, keeping readers guessing all the way to the end.
A fun thriller set in a deadly jungle.