By Andrew Wayne
I picked this book because it popped up as a “because you read…” option in Kindle Unlimited. It’s a Mystery/Thriller following Dr. Theo Cray. Dr. Cray studies Bioinformatics, so finding trends in different environments and how those trends affect the species that occur in said environments. While doing research in a forest in Montana, Dr. Cray is picked up in spectacularly dramatic fashion as a person of interest int he death of a former student. Theo is eventually cleared of any suspicion after the woman’s death is deemed a bear attack. Theo feels quite a bit of guilt about this, while he only vaguely remembers her as a student he feels responsible for her getting hurt in the field, especially after he finds out that he was her favorite professor (something she never told him directly). While going over the details of the attack his biologist spidey-sense starts to tingle. This isn’t a bear attack, he’s not sure how he knows, but it isn’t right. The cops won’t listen, so he tries to dig into the case a little on his own and uncovers what looks like a string of serial killings but the police don’t want to hear it, there is a bear out there they need to find.
This book really did creep me out, it is a good story. Theo is a good guy, and watching his logical analysis unfold is interesting. The only thing is… It seems that Theo is so very uniquely qualified to solve this case. He’s a self taught chemist from the time he was in High School, so he understands explosives. His step-dad took him hunting and back woods camping, so he has survival skills and knows guns, he was an EMT during grad school, so he knows first response care and can break into ambulances… None of it is out of the realm of possibility, but it’s all just so convenient. I can’t say it takes away from the story, but there were a few eye rolls when I thought “Of course you know how to do that too…”
The one thing that did bug me was the author went out of his way to make the romantic interest this really cool woman who is former military, and alludes to her probably having seen combat. Then, when shit really starts to go down, Theo and the other male cops are falling all over themselves with the goal of PROTECTING her at all costs. The one person uniquely qualified to actually handle the situation. This really irked me, especially because even the character herself only once even sorta calls these macho lunks out on this crap and even that one time is extremely tepid. That isn’t a huge part of the book, it didn’t completely ruin it, but yeah, I was grinding my teeth there for a few pages.
Latent chauvinism aside, this was a good read. The science is described really well, and its implementation is logical and useful. I found that part fascinating and it’s clear the author know what he’s talking about. It’s twisty and the villain is so very villainous.