Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chimera by David Wellington

I was so excited when I got the email notifying me that I had won this book from Goodreads. I was introduced to David Wellington through his zombie series, and moved onto his vampire and werewolf books as well. Each of these series had their own unique feel within their perspective sub-genres, and I enjoyed them a lot. Chimera departs from David's usual fare of supernatural horror and moves into science gone wrong and government conspiracy.

The book opens with prisoners escaping from a top secret military installation. There is no explanation, no exposition, just immediate and intense action. I was hooked right away. The pace doesn't slow down as the story continues. The sections of the book are marked with the time from the initial event: T+ 1:46, etc. Not being military, it took me a little bit to wrap my head around how to read this, I've only seen it used in countdowns before.

We are introduced to Jim Chapel while he's at work and struggling to concentrate on his paperwork. We quickly learn that Jim is a war veteran and has lost an arm, though he's not letting this slow him down. We went from duty in the field to working for Military Intelligence providing oversight for civilian government contractors. To break the tedium of his work and refocus his mind, he goes for a swim in the pool. In the midst of his swim, he notices that he is being watched and that the man is laughing. Chapel doesn't think anything of it at first, he is use to people finding the appearance of a one-armed man swimming amusing. But the man doesn't leave, Chapel is pulled from his swim for a secret mission, so secret that he can't even tell his current boss that he's leaving. The man will not tell him anything about what the mission is or where they are going, he just keeps laughing.

Chapel is escorted to Pentagon and taken deep into a former fallout shelter turned office where he meets Rupert Hollingshead (the man that requested him for the mission). Hes told that he must capture the escapees but little else, so little in fact that it increases the danger of the mission. From the title, some of you have likely figured out what kind of prisoners escaped the facility. He must deal with genetically modified humans without having any ideas about their capabilities.

Hollingshead, part of the DIA, is in a power play with Agent Banks, from the CIA, over who is in charge of the mission and how it should be handled. The laughing man is Banks' lap dog. They present Chapel with a kill list and tell him there are four men he needs to capture. With so little information, Chapel's task is almost guaranteed to fail.

I won't go any further into the story of the book, I know how evil spoilers are. If you are looking for an action packed read, then grab this book.