A search-and-rescue mission on a hostile planet results in a horrific discovery in this dread-filled sci-fi thriller.
In response to a distress signal, the Odyssey crew sets out to investigate a drilling base on Achlys, a fringe planet harboring something sinister beneath its harsh surface. Seventeen-year-old Thea Sadik certainly values her internship at drilling conglomerate Hevetz Industries working for esteemed microbiologist Lisbeth Tarlow, but the young intern suspects that Tarlow’s tragic past may help to uncover Achlys’ evil secrets. Nova Singh, an 18-year-old brown-skinned pilot, meanwhile tries to act as peacemaker for her fiery cousin, a Hevetz mechanic, and wrestles with her feelings for the headstrong female captain, Dylan Lowe. The team’s search for survivors leads them to an abandoned ship full of deceased personnel as well as a stack of bodies in one of the drilling sites. Using an omnipresent third-person narration to clue readers in at key moments, Bowman (Retribution Rails, 2017, etc.) sets up an intriguing universe, providing small doses of political intrigue that suggest something more grandiose in a potential sequel. Self-serving acts plague the Odyssey crew from the onset, and the author does an admirable job of explaining their motivations even if the answers prove unsatisfying at times. When one of their own is infected by an unknown contagion, the group must fend off an aggressive outbreak. The book assumes a white default.
A solid, creepy page-turner. (Science fiction/horror. 13-adult)