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TERMINAL FREEZE by Lincoln Child

TERMINAL FREEZE

By Lincoln Child

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-51551-1
Publisher: Doubleday

Furry prehistoric beast thaws, then makes up for lost meals with human victims.

Paleoecologist Evan Marshall leads a group of scientists into “The Zone” in northeastern Alaska. Working out of a small base known as the Mount Fear Remote Sensing Installation, his team from Northern Massachusetts University is doing research on global warming. The only other humans around are a small number of Native Americans, Tunits, to the north. Beneath the ice floor in a cave, the team spots a frozen creature, two fist-sized yellow eyes surrounded by black pupils—perhaps, as the team believes, a saber-toothed tiger. When Usuguk, an elder of the Tunits, arrives to warn the team of evil and advise them to leave, Marshall politely but firmly refuses. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Dr. Jeremy Logan discovers some ominous, though unspecified, information about Fear Base in top-secret documents from the 1950s. More turmoil rocks The Zone with the arrival of brash Emilio Conti, an executive producer with a documentary film crew, big as Marshall’s and twice as boisterous, that promptly sets up a makeshift adjoining camp. The only respectful filmmaker is attractive producer Kari Ekberg. Marshall tries to oust Conti and company, but the producer’s smug announcement that the film has financed the entire expedition effectively neutralizes any objections. After Conti sets about melting the block of ice, the creature inside proves much larger than a cat, though it disappears before anyone gets a good look. Then the tastefully depicted carnage begins. As the body count rises, an ice-road trucker named Carradine boldly drives most of the cast to safety while Conti prepares to film the beast and Marshall seeks help from the Tunits.

Child (Deep Storm, 2007, etc.) depicts his frigid setting with greater authority than his characters, diminishing his thriller’s impact. Far from a classic, but a minor-league Jurassic.