Warning: this novel is a biological thriller that might keep you up at night.
You’ll meet a lot of people in Cold Storage, but four are key. The first two you’ll encounter are officers in the U. S. Air Force. Lt. Col. Trini Romano and Major Roberto Diaz are on assignment in the desert of Western Australia. Much later you’ll meet Travis (Teacake) Meacham and Naomi Williams, two young people who work as security guards at a storage facility in Missouri. But you’ve got to be patient. Trini and Roberto will show up again a lot further along. It won’t seem to make a lot of sense for awhile. But then it will suddenly all come together. And you probably won’t like what happens when it does.
Cold Storage by David Koepp (2019) 304 pages @@@@@ (5 out of 5)
A biological thriller about a lethal fungus grown in space
Trini and Roberto work for the Pentagon’s Defense Threats Reduction Agency (DTRA). They’ve been rushed to the Australian desert to investigate a potentially lethal pathogen that crashed to Earth on the remnants of Skylab, America’s first space station. (History tells us that Skylab burned up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean in 1979, but novelist David Koepp would have it otherwise.) Accompanying the two Air Force officers is a microbiologist who collects a sample of what they learn is a terrifyingly lethal fungus. Trini and Roberto return the sample to the U.S., where it is sequestered hundreds of feet underground in a secret government weapons storage facility. In cold storage, of course, as the title suggests. And what happens to that storage facility, and to the sample hidden there, is what this novel is all about.
Warning: violent scenes ahead
Cold Storage isn’t a horror story, but it acts like one. It’s a biological thriller and heavy on the science. But there’s a fair serving of violence, and it’s messy. If gruesome scenes give you nightmares, you might pass on this novel. However, if you can tolerate the unpleasantness, you’ll enjoy this story immensely. Author David Koepp has the knack of creating understandable characters with a remarkably few words. And his command of pacing and ability to build suspense are masterful.
About the author
You may never have heard of David Koepp, because his is one of those names that scrolls along the screen at the end of movies. But it’s been there a lot. He has been the screenwriter of a great number of A-list films, including Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, SpiderMan, and War of the Worlds. Clearly, the man knows how to plot a story!
For further reading
For more good reading, check out:
- The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels;
- Great sci-fi novels reviewed: my top 10 (plus dozens of runners-up); and
- The top 10 dystopian novels reviewed here (plus dozens of others).
You might also check out Top 10 great popular novels reviewed on this site.
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