CODON ZERO by Jim Hendee


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A millennial thriller about biological terrorism and the quest for peace in the Middle East.

An American James Bond for the 21st century, Jason Stouter slices through conspiracies, double crosses and even a few femme fatales in this continent-hopping technological thriller inspired as much by Ian Fleming’s flair for the tongue in cheek and dramatic as by the precision of detail and exciting speculation mastered by Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. The narrative wastes little time establishing Stouter as a strong, uncompromising former intelligence officer with nary a chink in his armor, save for one thing—his son. The brilliant, shrewd Dr. Chance Bonnard, who has a suspicious passion for counterterrorism and devious quid pro quos, offers Stouter a chance to save his ill son’s life, but only if he’ll do Bonnard a whopping geopolitical favor and return to the shadow world of international espionage. Stouter is no spring chicken and does his research using old friends and ex-contacts, but he’s made a Faustian bargain; Bonnard and his group want to use the threat of a decimating virus to scare the Middle East into peaceful submission, but Kahlil Zufar, an old thorn in Stouter’s side, has other plans for the virus and Stouter must thwart them while still finding a way to save his son. Many novels crumble under such pressures, but Stouter’s headlong plunge and the story’s sophisticated plotting keeps things just on this side of believability. Many of the novel’s main movements begin with a wire service news flash or a transcript of a cable anchor’s reportage that give the reader the addicting advantage of feeling that they’re in on the real story, the moral conundrums and complexities that constitute the empty distillations of news networks’ headlines. It’s a clever structure for the genre that not only provides a broader political commentary, but legitimizes the more whimsical aspects of Stouter’s adventures as they build to a near pitch-perfect ending.

A book tailor-made for fans of high-tech, high-stakes intrigue.


Pub Date: July 30th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1257880058
Page count: 332pp
Publisher: Lulu
Program: Kirkus Indie
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