Mutant ants—millions of ’em—have taken over New York City, killing tens of thousands of humans, and only one thing can stop them: a special formula synthesized from a queen's pheromones that makes the ants turn on each other. But will entomologist Kendra Hart be able to dose the invading army with her special brew before the military goes ahead with a plan to nuke Manhattan?
In her grimly entertaining debut, Colucci savors her descriptions of the ants, which are 8 inches long, can move at eight miles an hour, have pincers, mandibles and armor—and, in the case of the queens, brains 100 times bigger than normal ants. These ants travel in frightening black waves, weigh down people until the humans can't stand up, and with each bite spread toxins that cause swelling, shock and death. The upside of the scenario for Kendra is that the ants attack only during the day. At night, they hibernate. Leaving the safety of a secret underground bunker, Kendra is lucky to find a queen inside an elevator shaft—but not before being poisoned by ants and spared death via an injection of epinephrine. She receives it from her ex-husband, Pulitzer-winning ant authority Paul O'Keefe, who summoned her from New Mexico. They're joined by computer whiz Jeremy Rudeau, Paul's longtime rival and the man who came between them. Love reblooms to the creepy sound of ants moving en masse. Until its somewhat pat ending, the book transcends its horror-movie basis with descriptions of the ants in action and of the science behind the Siafu Moto, which is part fire ant and part African strain. One only wishes the political types here weren't so cartoonish.
Not a book for picnic-goers, this tale may have you rethinking those warnings about fire ants heading north.