Next book

PREDATOR/NOMAD

An intriguing but uneven tale about the dangers of genetic engineering.

A Saudi princess and a novice reporter work to bring down a mad scientist in this techno-thriller.

Dr. Jordan Roberts is a pioneer in the field of genetic editing. She has developed the ability to cure a wide variety of diseases, though the details of her treatment remain a well-kept secret. Jordan travels to Saudi Arabia to pitch her services to up-and-coming governor Prince Faruq. While there, she also meets the prince’s sister, Princess Saleh, who dresses like a man and serves as her brother’s primary bodyguard. Jordan and Saleh quickly become more than simple business associates, but it isn’t long before the princess becomes suspicious of the doctor’s work, which requires the geneticist to travel to remote regions of Afghanistan. When Saleh discovers Jordan’s real project—she is building clone soldiers and selling them to the highest bidder on the international black market—the geneticist assassinates Faruq, making it look like a suicide. Saleh vows to take vengeance, a quest that leads her to Jordan’s native San Francisco. Meanwhile, Price Laurel, a struggling actor from St. Louis, is living out of his van on the streets of San Francisco. In the aftermath of his brother’s death in the Afghanistan War, Price decides to become a freelance reporter. His first big story: a profile of Jordan. Jordan is hoping for good PR surrounding her new operations—she’s attempting to secure funding from the American government—so she agrees to allow Price into her orbit, thinking she can control him. Saleh learns about it and makes her own offer to Price. The two set about to expose Jordan and her unethical cloning operation, but has the doctor become too powerful for anyone to vanquish her?

The ambitious, nearly 500-page work has many captivating plotlines and characters, particularly the mercurial Saleh. Micko also explores some complex, thought-provoking ideas in the narrative, like gender fluidity and cloning, that myriad readers will be interested in. But while the author’s prose has a nice staccato rhythm, it sometimes reads more like a film treatment than a novel. Furthermore, the style is often too clunky to achieve the tone Micko desires. Price is supposed to read as naïve, but he frequently comes across as an idiot: “One thing runs through his mind: clones. If Jordan is creating clones, then that is illegal. Especially if she’s making them for mass production. There’s got to be a law against that, somewhere. Also, it’s unethical. If Jordan successfully cloned a human being and then terminated said human being, then that constitutes murder. However, is the clone considered a human being?” Some of the other characters don’t fare much better. Few are fully convincing in the roles they occupy. Along the way, several of them speak and act like high school students pretending to be Bond villains. Although the plot boldly tackles some rich concepts and issues and delivers bits of humor, it can sometimes become convoluted and lose momentum.

An intriguing but uneven tale about the dangers of genetic engineering.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2021

ISBN: 979-8-54-946124-6

Page Count: 469

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

Close Quickview