Okay. So it’s not a shocker that I’m a huge Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child fan. I talk about them all the time on this blog. But I’m much more of a FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast fan than anything. The enigmatic investigator has all the essential qualities I look for in an awesome protagonist. So, I’ll admit…it’s been difficult to branch out and read the Preston and Child books (both their co-authored and solo books) that don’t have him in them.
But I’m happy to say it’s becoming much easier as I slowly make my way through their backlists of books though. As a matter of fact, I’ve not read a single of one of their books sans Pendergast that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. A few months ago, I shared a review of Lincoln Child’s DEEP STORM and told you how much I loved it and that was the beginning of my marathon readfest of all their books (a marathon I’m still working on…hey, I’m a publisher and a writer too…I don’t have a lot of time to read!). Well, today’s review is probably–in my humble opinion–the BEST solo written thriller of all them. I am, as the title states, talking about Lincoln Child’s TERMINAL FREEZE.
To start, let me just post the book’s back cover blurb so you’ll get a feel for what the book’s about and so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel:
A breathtaking discovery at the top of the world… A terrifying collision of modern science and Native American legend… The electrifying new thriller from bestselling author Lincoln Child.
Alaska’s Federal Wildlife Zone is one of the most dangerous and inhospitable places on Earth. For paleoecologist Evan Marshall, an expedition to the Zone offers an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the mounting effects of climate change. But once there Marshall and his intrepid team make an astonishing discovery: an enormous prehistoric animal encased in solid ice. Despite repeated warnings from the local village, and the Marshall’s own mounting concern, the expedition sponsors want the creature cut from the ice, thawed, and revealed on a live television spectacular…But then the creature disappears and an ancient horror is unleashed.
I don’t think, for anyone familiar with either Preston or Child, that it will come as a major spoiler for me to say that the creature cut from the ice is a monster and that it begins to systematically kill everyone on the expedition. Essentially, some type of evolutionary aberration was flash frozen millions of years ago. The perfect timing plus the perfect environment plus the perfect weather equals the perfect killing machine that awakens to wreak terror on those who disturb its slumber.
That’s pretty much par the course for these kind of books. And as a matter of fact, TERMINAL FREEZE is, as has been lamented in several of the reader reviews on Amazon, startling similarities with the original Preston/Child monster book…RELIC. But Child doesn’t even attempt to conceal these similarities. On the contrary…he embraces it. I know this because he goes to great lengths to explain the Callisto Effect…a theory postulated by Dr. Frock in RELIC that states that every so often along the evolutionary ladder, an aberration is created to thin out the herd (so to speak). The creature from RELIC was supposed to be one such mutation. And so, is the creature from TERMINAL FREEZE.
Now, as you might imagine, some people find this to be unimaginative and unoriginal. Some (so-called) fans, according to their reviews on Amazon, find it deplorable. I, personally, couldn’t disagree with their opinions more. First of all, if you forget that such a book as RELIC exists, you’ve got yourself one rip-roaring awesome read in its own right. But including the RELIC universe in this book just makes things even better. And I’ll be honest with you here…while reading TERMINAL FREEZE, I couldn’t help getting the impression that Child had remembered all the little “weak spots” of RELIC and corrected them in this book. In my opinion, it has everything that was good about RELIC (minus Aloysius Pendergast, of course) and none of its weaknesses. I’ll be very frank with you here…there were times when I would set the book down from a period of reading where my muscles were literally sore from being so tense. There were scenes in it that I would merely shake my head, smile, and say, “Wow. That really was amazing.”
Truth be told…I find myself increasingly jealous with Lincoln Child. I wish I’d thought of this idea. Wish my execution of a story was as brilliant as this. Look, here it is in a nutshell….whether you’re a long time fan or just looking for something exciting and fun to read, you should definitely pick this book up. If you’re not hyper-critical of the similarities with other works within the Preston/Child universe, I promise you’ll love it. It’s a strong, tight story. The research appears to be top notch (as usual). And you will literally be on the edge of your seat while reading it (images of the ice road trucking scenes come to mind as I write this).
Oh, and the inclusion of Child’s own enigmatic paranormal researcher Jeremy Logan is an added plus. I honestly can’t wait to read more stories about Logan. He definitely as some fantastic potential!
Anyway, this Christmas season, let your mind drift up to the Yukon, take in the blood red northern lights, and try not to be eaten by a monster with the grin of a Cheshire cat.
Here’s a link for ya!