Author: L. A. Larkin
Page Count/Review Word Count: 410
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
This book was a bit of a weird one. It was a slow burner to begin with, and it reminded me of a bonfire – the author chucked a match on it, and it didn’t light, and then they tried another and still nothing. Then they tried a third and it went up like a fireball, and once that happened, I was hooked.
Let’s start by taking a look at the story line. Loosely speaking, it’s based on a real life scientific expedition, in which experts travelled to Antarctica and attempted to dig around 3 km beneath the surface to reach an underground lake. The expedition failed, but in Larkin’s book, it succeeds and finds some rare bacteria that have been living in isolation for millenia. And unfortunately, they can have some pretty devastating effects.
I can’t say any more than that without ruining the story line, but that should be enough to give you a good overview of what to expect. The good news here is that not all of the action takes place in Antarctica – we get to see a decent cross section of the world, as well as a fascinating array of characters who keep you guessing about their true intents right up until the end.
As for the negative points, there are only really a couple that I can identify. The first is negligible, because it was unique to the book that I was sent – as an advance copy, the rear cover was plain and white, and the paper wasn’t of a high quality. But that won’t affect you once the mass market copy comes out. The second will still apply – the protagonist is being stalked, and there are a number of sections which are written in the second person, directly addressing the reader. For me, it just didn’t work, and it was particularly offputting at the start. Later on, it still didn’t work, but it was a lot easier to skim read over it.
But overall, as the first book in a promising new series of crime novels by a writer I’ve never heard of, I’m pretty impressed. There’s also plenty of room for the story to be developed in the future, and I know that the author has started work. Exciting!