Would you read this book?

My next, long-overdue science thriller novel The Han Agent will finally hit bookstores in August. I’ll be sharing more with you about the origin of this story, but for now I need your feedback. To prepare advance reader copies for reviewers, I need to write a compelling back cover summary.

If you flipped over a book and read this on the back, would you take the book home?

The Han Agent by Amy Rogers

In the 1930s, Japanese scientists sought a biological weapon to give them victory over their enemies.

The war ended. Their mission did not.

Japanese-American scientist Amika Nakamura won’t let rules stand in the way of her quest for scientific glory. When the ambitious young virologist defies a ban on the genetic manipulation of influenza (flu) viruses, she loses her university job and derails her career. Enter Hiroshi Naito, scion of a powerful old Japanese clan, who offers her a position doing vaccine research with his family’s pharmaceutical company.

A few months after moving to Tokyo, Amika eagerly accepts an invitation to accompany her rich, eligible boss on a short camping trip to a remote tropical island. No one warns her the Senkaku Islands are disputed territory. An attack on the island by Chinese protesters entangles her and Hiroshi in a high-profile geopolitical struggle. Applying her singular expertise with bird flu in a risky experiment may be the only way out. Little does she know that Japanese ultranationalists and a legacy of unpunished war crimes lurk in the shadows, manipulating people, politics, and science.

But DNA doesn’t lie. Amika uncovers a shocking truth: a deadly virus is about to put the “gene” in genocide.

That’s the 200-word version. Next is an abbreviated form (150 words). Which do you like better?

Japanese-American scientist Amika Nakamura won’t let rules stand in the way of her quest for scientific glory. When the ambitious young virologist defies a ban on the genetic manipulation of influenza, she loses her university job. Desperate to save her career, she accepts a position with a pharmaceutical company in Tokyo. Soon after, a trip with her boss to a disputed island entangles her in a high-profile geopolitical struggle with China. Applying her singular expertise with bird flu in a risky experiment may be the only way out. Little does she know that Japanese ultranationalists and a legacy of unpunished war crimes lurk in the shadows, manipulating people, politics, and science.

But DNA doesn’t lie. Amika uncovers a shocking truth: a deadly virus is about to put the “gene” in genocide.

Please leave a comment if you can suggest any improvements, or tell me what you like about this summary. If you would prefer to keep your suggestions private, email me.

Coming soon: First public reveal of the cover of The Han Agent!

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Elephant ivory and cybercrime in new thriller

ScienceThrillers.com welcomes author Geoffrey Wells, whose new technothriller novel Atone for the Ivory Cloud combines elephant ivory trafficking, cybercrime, and international intrigue.

Support ScienceThrillers.com and the author by buying Atone for the Ivory Cloud at amazon.com


The Science Under the Ivory Cloud
Guest post by Geoffrey Wells

Atone for the Ivory Cloud by Geoffrey Wells. Technothriller; international espionage thriller (2017)

Readers of fiction who are interested in science and those who read ebook thrillers are no doubt already aware of our highly inter-connected world. However, they might not realize that the industry of ivory trafficking that has operated successfully using only analog methods for centuries, is now tapped into a supply chain that is managed by organized crime under the Cloud of the Dark Web. Hence the title of my new eco/cyber-thriller, Atone for the Ivory Cloud, on Amazon.

The African economies are emerging. East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania, which are responsible for most ivory exports to Asia—“harvested” from 30,000 plus poached elephants a year—are also countries, ironically, that have telecommunications infrastructure far superior to the cable and phone line-bound networks in the United States. They have innovated wireless microfinancing with technologies such as M-Pesa, have been using chip and pin credit cards for decades and use virtual currencies such as Bitcoin as standard operating procedure. Despite electrical power and corruption issues, Tanzania and Kenya’s GDP growth in 2016 was 7.2% and 6% consecutively. And criminals are taking advantage.

It is into this world that Allison, a brilliant New York composer and coder goes undercover to trap a cybercrime syndicate that has hijacked her website—to trade ivory.

In summary, Allison is stunned when the CIA leaves her no option but to go undercover to modify the code she wrote to protect her symphony. She is deployed from New York with a savvy street vendor to Tanzania, where he is from—and where the cybercrime trail goes dead. Their guarded love affair is sidelined when they are abducted by a trafficker who poaches elephants on a massive scale. To avoid betraying each other they abandon their CIA handlers and return to New York City. Allison must find a way to bring down the mastermind knowing that she might have to sacrifice her symphony, her loved ones and her privacy—for a greater good.

Here is the trailer:

Scientists are familiar with the debate over proprietary achievement versus transparent open-source accomplishment. They also know how closely the discipline of music composition is to coding. In fact, I once did an informal survey of an IT department where I worked, and found that over 80% of the staff played a musical instrument. Therefore, it was not a stretch for me to conceive a character in my novel that experiments with code as much as she does with music.

She is initially most comfortable with a passive approach to protecting her work, because she knows just enough about coding to get into trouble. Her chosen approach is to borrow extensively from existing code found in open-source programs on the Internet. She unwittingly creates an onion router similar to Tor, and works, protected by hiding-in-plain-sight, without the baggage of the dubious operators who use Tor. It’s a perfect proxy for the cybercrime syndicate that is trafficking ivory—and an ideal setup for the CIA to trap them. Except, Allison is the innocent that is still searching for her own authenticity, but who must be part of the mission because only she knows her compositions well enough to alter the code without detection.

What choice does she have? Her musical career as a composer hangs in the balance, unless she gets involved. And she does: eventually realizing that two can play the man–in-the-middle game. And so, she finds herself undercover, immersed in obfuscation, an attack using MBO (metamorphic binary obfuscation), anonymizing toolsets, bots and Bitcoins.

But the tug-of-war between her need for privacy and her conscience (con-science) weighs on her throughout the story. Being part of the “game” has an implicit responsibility to do the right thing. And she honors it.

“Atone for the Ivory Cloud is a compelling, fast-paced thriller with an exotic international flavor. Geoffrey Wells takes the reader on an enthralling ride, skillfully entwining cybercrime, music, and the fate of African elephants in a breathtaking tale of danger and romance.” -Pamela Burford, best-selling author of Undertaking Irene.


About the Author:

Impressions on a South African farm, boarding school, a father who read from the classics to his children, and a storytelling mother, sparked Geoffrey Wells with a writer’s imagination. Though the piano and drum kits and Mozambique led to his first thriller, A Fado for the River, his career as Art Director in advertising led him to the American Film Institute, and an awe of digital technology propelled him to VP of Information Technology at Disney, ABC-TV stations and CIO for the Fox TV station group. Wells wrote an award-winning animated film, has visited elephant reserves, and climbed to the tip of Kilimanjaro. He lives on Long Island where he swims the open water and runs a video and design company.

Buy the book on amazon

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And of course, updates on the release of Atone for the Ivory Cloud.

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Guest post: Antisense RNA therapy in fiction

ScienceThrillers.com welcomes J.M. Lanham, an author whose novel The R.E.M. Effect “hearkens to Michael Crichton’s penchant for genetics gone wrong, pharmaceutical malfeasance, and high-stakes conspiracies.” Here, Lanham shows his hard-SF bona fides with a guest post about antisense RNA therapy, a central theme of his SciThri novel.


The REM Effect by J.M. Lanham. Medical/Science thriller (2016)

It’s 2021 and Paul Freeman just landed a job with Asteria Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in revolutionary drug development. Paul knows the company’s future is riding on the success of their latest product – a sleeping pill designed to interact with the human genome to deliver the perfect eight-hour sleep cycle.

Just a few blocks from Asteria’s Atlanta headquarters, troubled self-help guru Donny Ford is selling a different kind of drug, empowering followers to take control of their lives using a sacred meditation technique skeptics believe may have already taken his mind to a dangerous place.

3,000 miles away, war-hardened journalist Claire Connor sits captive in a top-secret facility hidden deep in the Costa Rican jungle, guilty of two offenses: seeking help for a sleep disorder, and asking too many questions.

When these worlds collide, the three will discover just how far some companies are willing to go to protect the bottom line.

Support ScienceThrillers.com and the author by buying The REM Effect at amazon.com


Antisense Therapy: Killing the Messenger, One Gene at a Time

Guest post by J. M. Lanham, author of the sci-fi thriller The REM Effect

What if treating inherited diseases were as simple as blocking an unwanted caller?

It may sound like science fiction, but proponents of antisense therapy have long believed antisense drugs hold the key to inhibiting the very proteins responsible for debilitating (and often terminal) diseases such as Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis, to name but a few.

Antisense therapy—also referred to as oligonucleotide, or ON intervention—has made incredible progress during the 21st century, but the technology is far from new. Methods for ON synthesis date back to the early 1970s, with a number of scientific contributions leading up to the Zamecnik and Stephenson articles published in 1978. These articles highlighted the discovery that infected cell cultures of Rous sarcoma virus could be inhibited with antisense therapy. Nine years later, the first antisense patent was filed.

Since that time, researchers have worked to discover new ways antisense therapy could be used to treat genetic abnormalities in the future. It’s a promising technology, and one that is a central theme in my science-fiction thriller The R.E.M. Effect. But how does it all work?

Simply put, antisense therapy involves stopping a genetic mutation dead in its tracks. For example, mutations in the HTT gene are responsible for Huntington’s Disease; a fatal, progressive genetic disorder that leads to the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Such mutations are passed on through single-stranded messenger RNA (mRNA), replicating the faulty genetic instructions in cells throughout the body until the patient either succumbs to the disease, or something steps in to stop it.

This is where antisense therapy comes into play. Because mRNA is single-stranded, a synthesized nucleic acid called an antisense oligonucleotide can bind to the faulty mRNA, blocking protein synthesis and stopping translation. Since genetic disorders rely on abnormal genes continually copying themselves to other cells, the ability to inhibit problem proteins is promising for those suffering from these diseases.

Of course, this is all easier said than done.

While the FDA has approved a small dose of antisense drug regimens used to treat genetic disorders from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to high cholesterol, other drugs haven’t fared as well, like GlaxoSmithKline’s failed antisense drug designed to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) during phase three of the FDA clinical trials in 2013. Three years later, the FDA issued a Complete Response letter to GlaxoSmithKline, stating “the standard of substantial evidence of effectiveness has not been met.”

Research and development setbacks are a fact of life for pharmaceutical companies, but antisense is a particularly expensive venture, costing billions to develop new and experimental drugs that may never make it to market. It’s a risky business, and a step away from reliable pharmaceutical cash cows, like medications for blood pressure, allergies, antacids and antidepressants—all of which bring in billions in revenue for drug companies each year.

R&D setbacks play a significant role in The R.E.M. Effect. In the novel, Asteria Pharmaceuticals has spent billions developing the perfect sleep aid. The pill is called Ocula, and it works by using antisense technology to inhibit a set of genes linked to insomnia. The result? The perfect eight-hour sleep cycle. Unfortunately, a handful of clinical trial participants experience strange side effects that seem to be making their dreams come true.

This leads to an important question the book poses: How far would a pharmaceutical company be willing to go to hush up a few clinical trial outliers after putting every penny on the line to develop the drug of the century? Well, one can only hope such a company would just go as far as bankruptcy, but hey, this is supposed to be a fun, sci-fi thriller, right?

While the story of Ocula takes an ominous turn in the book, the true promise of antisense therapy should not be overlooked. Pharmaceutical companies continue to shell out R&D dollars toward antisense, and for good reason. Imagine diseases like sickle cell disease, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease being a thing of the past, joining the defeated ranks of measles, smallpox, and polio. What if one day a cancer diagnosis became little more than an inconvenience, with antisense therapy there to stop malignant cells from passing their genetic misinformation from one cell to the next?

One can only hope. Until that day comes, I’ll be rooting for the very scientists tirelessly working to make antisense therapy a reality for every genetic disorder. And, borrowing a few headlines here and there to weave into my next science-fiction thriller.


About the Author:

J.M. Lanham is an American author of science fiction, thrillers, and suspense.

Born in Georgia in 1983, Lanham has been fascinated with science fiction ever since he could pick up a paperback. Influences include Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, H.G. Wells, and Orson Scott Card, among many others.

Lanham’s obsession with Big Pharma stems from his research into publicly traded pharmaceutical companies dating back to the early 2000s. He holds a bachelors degree in business administration, which has played an important role in filling an 11×14 frame he found at Goodwill. Lanham has been a professional copywriter and ghostwriter for five years. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and son.

Visit www.jmlanham.com to learn more about the author of The R.E.M. Effect, upcoming book signings, and special events. You can also sign up for his mailing list to receive future offers, book discounts, and more.

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Guest post: From physicist to novelist

ONE WEEK ONLY: “Smart, scary science thriller” Reversion by @ScienceThriller Amy Rogers is free. Get yours from your favorite ebook retailer, and please post a review if you can.


ScienceThrillers.com welcomes Dr. James Marshall Smith, an expert on nuclear terrorism who got serious about writing a novel. The result, Silent Source, was a finalist for the Clive Cussler Grand Master Award.


Silent Source by James Marshall Smith. Medical/Science thriller (2016)

The hate is deep. The death is slow. The cause is silent.

You know that Atlanta PD has given up on a case when they call in Dr. Damon Keane. The sleuth scientist is quietly famous in forensic circles for unraveling the most daunting technical puzzles, but this case is bewildering. Two people are already dead. The third victim, a priest, is dying by inches in an Atlanta hospital, and the cause is a complete mystery to doctors and detectives alike.

As if matters weren’t strange enough, the dying priest’s rosary beads have suddenly turned the color of blood.

Despite that bizarre transformation, Keane knows that he’s not chasing something supernatural. The killer is a man—twisted by anger and a lust for vengeance—but still very much human. As the death toll mounts, the story races to London’s Hyde Park and on to the edge of Siberia and a place once home to the world’s most secret atomic city. For all of his perception and skill, Keane is always one step behind.

Time is running out. The killer is making final preparations to unleash a cloud of death over the entire city of Atlanta. By now, Damon Keane has learned that the only way to take down this villain is to outmatch his cunning in a face-to-face showdown.

It’s the most hectic travel weekend of the summer at the world’s busiest airport …

Support ScienceThrillers.com and the author by buying Silent Source at amazon.com


My Road from Physicist to Novelist: the 9/11 Connection

Guest post by James Marshall Smith

Why on earth would a physicist decide to write a novel?

I think that many of those who have worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—as I did for more than two decades—have at least one or two stories to tell the world. Mine began in earnest on September 11, 2001. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

That horrific attack on our Homeland turned my career around. And not just my career, but those of many at the CDC. We became aware more than ever that nuclear terrorism was not just a hypothetical threat. Although many of us considered that possibility long before 9/11, it was that date in history that really drove home this is a serious type of event that could occur.

With our expertise in nuclear radiation, my group and I began emergency response planning for other kinds of possible terrorist events: an improvised nuclear device (sometimes called “Hiroshima in a suitcase”), a dirty bomb, or the use of silent sources of deadly radiation. We worked with other federal agencies, states, and cities in understanding the scope of such threats and how we would team-up to respond if any of these scenarios should erupt anywhere in the country.

I’m now retired, but looking back over those years, it occurred to me that there was a novel there! Not just a thriller, but also a story for teaching a little science along the way. I especially enjoy fiction that teaches me something new as I read.

Why did I think I could write a novel? Blame it on Michael Crichton. Reading his classic Andromeda Strain many years ago blew me away—and not just the story itself. What knocked me over was realizing that Crichton published his novel while he was in medical school. If he could do that, I thought, why can’t I write a thriller? Naïve, yes. My many starts and stops over the years never amounted too much. Then I began taking classes in writing fiction and dipping into savings to attend workshops in New York and LA (If there’s one thing that we can learn from screenwriters in LA, it’s dialogue.) I attended summer sessions in creative writing as well at the University of Iowa and one summer at Oxford, both of which were unforgettable experiences for this rank amateur.

In retirement with the fresh idea for a novel that reflected my knowledge acquired at the CDC following 9/11, I began Silent Source. Two and a half years later, it was completed and a few months after that, one of three international finalists for the annual Clive Cussler Grand Master Award.

Silent Source is the story of forensic genius Dr. Damon Keane, who probes bewildering cases of a fatal syndrome emerging in Atlanta. People are dying without any sign of cause. Lurking in the background is a killer—twisted by anger and with a lust for vengeance. The story races form Atlanta to London’s Hyde Park to the edge of Siberia, a place once known as the world’s most secret atomic city, now a magnet for the international nuclear black market. The killer is planning his next step—unleashing an explosive cloud of death across the city of Atlanta. Damon Keane has learned that the only way to halt this terror is by outmatching the cunning of this demonic mastermind in a face-to-face showdown. It’s a July 4th weekend at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport…

About the Author:

I’m a physicist with a research career that spanned space satellites to molecular biophysics. I was Chief of Radiation Studies for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for over a decade and have served in consulting or advisory roles on nuclear-threat countermeasures for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the G7 Global Health Security Action Group in Berlin, London and Paris, and for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

You can visit me at my website: www.JamesMarshallSmith.com

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Guest post: PHOENIX AFTERLIFE by James Leth

ScienceThrillers.com welcomes author James Leth to tell us about his debut science fiction novel Phoenix Afterlife.

Support ScienceThrillers.com and the author by buying Phoenix Afterlife at amazon.com–if you don’t win the book giveaway below!

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Mind vs Brain: Author James Leth on Phoenix Afterlife

Based on current theories of the mind’s emergence from the brain, Phoenix Afterlife is a story about the nature of consciousness, the quest for immortality, and the meaning of humanity. The story takes place just a few years in the future in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Summary: Dr. Alice Kurz is a neuroscientist driven by the memory of her grandmother, who raised her and then succumbed to Alzheimer’s. For years, Alice has been studying how to repair the brain to save damaged minds. All she needs now is a test subject for the nanotechnology her team has developed. She finds him in Eliot Stearns, a research librarian skilled at seeing the larger perspective and interested in everything.

When Eliot meets Alice, he’s drawn to her immediately. The experiment requires him to be isolated from the world for five days, communicating only with Alice and the other researchers through a videoconference system. Misgivings aside, Eliot finds the study—and Alice—too interesting to refuse. But there is far more to the experiment than he’s been told, and others on the project have their own agendas: “Trick” Trilby, the lead software developer, who knows that the project’s technology could lead to a kind of immortality; Matthius Pin, the first test subject, determined to have nothing more to do with the project; Sam Gleigh, the reclusive billionaire investor; and Dr. Gold, the psychologist locked in a strange conflict of wills with Alice Kurz.

Eliot never foresaw the danger inherent in the experiment. Once inside, he has no control over how long the “five-day” study might last. When he discovers evidence that he’s already been sequestered far longer than that, he realizes that the nanotechnology placed in his brain may be altering his memory. Is the woman he’s grown to love keeping him prisoner? Is there any way to escape? Or will he spend the rest of his life repeating the five-day study over and over again?

This book is available in paperback or e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks.

About the author:

Phoenix Afterlife is my debut novel. The technology in this story is informed by two degrees in computer science from MIT and over 30 years’ experience in engineering R&D. I live in Colorado, where I’m currently working on my second novel.

Visit my websites at jamesleth.com and Goodreads.

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PACIFIC BURN Japan thriller now in paperback: win!

Author Barry Lancet knows Japan.

As an expatriate American who is married to a Japanese woman and has lived and worked in Japan for decades, Lancet started writing thriller fiction with his award-winning debut Japantown using what he knows. This arresting series of smart thrillers stars Jim Brodie, an American expert on Japanese art and antiques. I reviewed the third book in Lancet’s series, Pacific Burn, when it was published. Now, the paperback version is going on sale and I’m pleased to reprint my review and offer a giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway PACIFIC BURN

BlueStar5

Tech rating (out of 5):  N/A

Publication date: February 9, 2016 Paperback release February 28, 2017
Category: international action thriller/mystery

Summary (from the publisher):

Japanese antiques dealer and PI Jim Brodie goes up against the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security—and a killer operating on both sides of the Pacific.

In recognition for his role in solving the Japantown murders in San Francisco, antiques dealer and sometime-PI Jim Brodie has just been brought on as the liaison for the mayor’s new Pacific Rim Friendship Program. Brodie in turn recruits his friend, the renowned Japanese artist Ken Nobuki, and after a promising meeting with city officials and a picture-perfect photo op, Brodie and Nobuki leave City Hall for a waiting limo.

But as soon as they exit the building, a sniper attacks them from the roof of the Asian Art Museum. Quick thinking allows Brodie to escape, but Nobuki ends up hospitalized and in a coma. Brodie soon realizes that, with the suspicious and untimely death of Nobuki’s oldest son a week earlier in Napa Valley, someone may be targeting his friend’s family—and killing them off one by one.

Suspects are nearly too numerous to name—and could be in the United States or anywhere along the Pacific Rim. The quest for answers takes Brodie from his beloved San Francisco to Washington, DC, in a confrontation with the DHS, the CIA, and the FBI; then on to Tokyo, Kyoto, and beyond, in search of what his Japanese sources tell him is a legendary killer in both senses of the word—said to be more rumor than real, but deadlier than anything else they’ve ever encountered if the whispers are true.

ScienceThrillers review:

Barry Lancet delivers again in Pacific Burn, book #3 of the Jim Brodie series that began with his award-winning debut Japantown. This time, Brodie’s connections in the art world entangle him in a web of violence on both sides of the Pacific when members of a famed ceramicist’s family are being murdered one by one. The killer is Japan’s most secretive, legendary assassin: The Shadow Walker, a legend born amid the hot, fuming vents of a volcano near Japan’s Pompeii.

What sets Pacific Burn and the other Brodie thrillers apart from other well-written suspense/action novels on the market is the Japanese flavor. Author Barry Lancet is an American who has lived in Japan for decades. His intimate personal knowledge of the history, language, culture, geography, and especially the art of Japan suffuses the book. As usual, Lancet includes several scenes that Japanophiles will salivate over. In this installment, readers visit a cosplay convention and manga museum, a temple, a bamboo forest, an active volcano, and of course several different types of Japanese restaurants, including a terrific scene involving fugu, the poisonous pufferfish. In Tokyo Kill, I learned about the history of samurai swords. In this volume, there’s an introduction to the art of Japanese tea bowls. Brodie’s life, and the murders in this story, are also anchored in the San Francisco area, and we’re treated to a couple of scenes in Napa.

The Jim Brodie character remains a reluctant hero, trying to hold together a dual life as a dealer in rarified Japanese art and head of a Tokyo-based security agency while raising a young daughter alone. (Brodie is a widower, a plot line you can follow in Japantown.) His extraordinary prowess with martial arts combined with street fighting techniques is brilliantly described by Lancet in his fight scenes, which walk the line between superheroism and human frailty.

If you enjoyed Japantown or Tokyo Kill, you’ll be pleased to see that the quality continues with Pacific Burn. If you’re a thriller fan who hasn’t read Lancet’s series, get on board. You can read the books in any order because they are stand-alones, though you might want to start with #1 (Japantown). Heck, get all three books because binge-reading is likely!

If you like contemporary thriller novels set in Japan, watch for the August 2017 release of The Han Agent by yours truly, Amy Rogers. A Japanese pharmaceutical company with historical ties to war crimes hires an American scientist after she was fired for doing illegal work on the influenza virus.


Read the ScienceThrillers reviews of Japantown and Tokyo Kill

An advance reader copy of this book was given to me with no promise of a review, good or bad.

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SciThri new releases: February 2017

Here’s the ScienceThrillers.com occasional roundup of newly released, or new to me, indie science & medical thrillers.  These books are among the many I don’t have time to read and review, but genre fans might enjoy.

If you are an author or publicist and would like your book listed, contact me with title, author, release date, weblinks, and summary. Only books with scientific or medical themes or characters will be included. Ask me about hosting a giveaway raffle on your behalf (paper books only).

SciThri New (or new to me) Releases:

Special this month: Book giveaway!

**********

Fragment by Craig Russell (2016). Ecothriller. Fragment explores a range of scientific topics from the physics of ocean wave formation to issues of climate change, polar ice and ocean currents. It delves deep into the frontiers of whale sonar and speculates in fascinating ways on the possibility of interspecies communication.

When avalanching glaciers thrust a massive Antarctic ice sheet into the open ocean, the captain of an atomic submarine must risk his vessel to rescue the survivors of a smashed polar research station; in Washington the President’s top advisor scrambles to spin the disaster to suit his master’s political aims; and meanwhile two intrepid newsmen sail south into the storm-lashed Drake Passage to discover the truth.

Onboard the submarine, as the colossal ice sheet begins its drift toward South America and the world begins to take notice, scientists uncover a secret that will threaten the future of America’s military power and change the fate of humanity.

And beneath the human chaos one brave blue whale fights for the survival of his species.

Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award winner and author of Flashforward, adapted for the ABC-TV series staring Joseph Fiennes and John Cho, calls Fragment “A wonderfully thoughtful eco-thriller from one of Canada’s best writers.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway FRAGMENT

A Sickness in Time by MF Thomas and Nicholas Thurkettle. Science fiction thriller.

In 2038, the human race is in a death spiral, yet most people do not know it yet. Technology intended to make us better and stronger has instead birthed a strange and terrible plague we may not be able to stop. When wealthy tech entrepreneur Josh Scribner’s young daughter begins to succumb to this illness, he dedicates his fortune in a desperate effort to save her life. Working with friend & celebrated physicist Min-Jun Dan, Josh develops the ability to send objects back through time. Their goal to recruit an agent in the past who might change our fatal path.

In our present day, a traumatized Air Force veteran finds a strange message in the woods on a camping trip, drawing her into an adventure spanning decades. With the future of humanity at stake, Maria Kerrigan and her friends become the unlikely heroes taking up the secret fight against our future doom.

A few words from the author: “I wrote the first draft of my first novel, Seeing by Moonlight, while working extensively in Germany and Switzerland. The story was inspired by my exposure to the history of the Nazi rocketry program and their extensive plans that were ended prematurely as the Allies won WWII. In the case of A Sickness in Time, the story was inspired by some time I spent in Rome. As I was walking near the ruins of Mars Hill, on a road first laid down a millennium ago, I came across an odd, glass and steel box. The contrast of this modern device in an ancient city made me start thinking about the reasons why someone would try to communicate across time.

Because of my work in the medical technology field, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to use medical technology to help people. There are so many opportunities to reduce pain, restore health and extend life. But from a perspective of writing fiction, it’s interesting to think about how medical technology could be subverted to hurt individuals or society. Medical advances have transformed the modern world. Consider the effect of antibiotics, insulin, pacemakers, and vaccines and the hundreds of millions of lives that have been saved through these discoveries and inventions. Yet what would happen if a ubiquitous technology that was supposed to make us better and stronger birthed a strange and terrible plague we may not be able to stop?”

The Chemist by Alan J. Field. Science + terrorism thriller (2016).

The most virulent weapon of mass destruction will be unleashed upon the world, but Delta Force veteran Daniel Strong isn’t about to let that happen. Recalled from the depths of drug addiction and depression, Danny is the last chance for the CIA to stop an auction in New York where powerful weapons dealers are to bid for the right to proliferate a deadly neurotoxin. The road to finding the auction’s location leads directly to the weapon’s creator: a devil in Tory Burch flats and heroin addict who has committed the chemical compound to memory. Yet Danny isn’t the only one chasing her. He must protect her from a sadistic Palestinian terrorist known only as Sabir, who wants to use the weapon to destroy Israel and will do anything–including torture–to get it. Danny must walk a fine line to control his obsession to resolve a dark secret from his past and his feelings for the chemist that could compromise the operation’s objective–before it’s too late.

Midwest Book Review says about The Chemist: “It’s rare to see a protagonist so tortured by his role in an international hunt, which pulls forth his own deeply buried secrets and angst in the process. Thrillers usually formulate plots where there are distinct friends and enemies, with the protagonist on one side or the other, but not here. One of the delights of The Chemist is that there are no clear boundaries of blackand white or good and evil. Instead, it places the protagonist on a tight ropeof tension as he tries to figure out his place within a tale of stunning plot twists that builds into something much more than just another obvious effort to save the world. Readers who enjoy international intrigue and spicy confrontations will appreciate the fact that scenes in The Chemist wind from Beirut to New York City, Afghanistan to Israel,and from hackers and hostiles to would-be rescuers and failed missions.”


Forbidden Birth by Dr. William Rubin (2016). Medical / serial killer thriller. Violent action reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen.

Doctor Christopher Ravello is driven by an unquenchable desire to avenge his mother’s senseless murder. He forsakes a lucrative career in medicine, and plunges headlong into the brutal, unforgiving world of a New York City homicide detective. Head of the new Division of Medical Crimes, Ravello’s first case pits him against a brilliant, sadistic serial killer. Known only as The Giver, he is hell bent on subjecting young women and their unborn babies to his illicit experiments. As the body count rises, New York City is engulfed in fear. Fighting an illness which threatens his job, immersed in turmoil at home due to his radical career change, Ravello struggles to understand who The Giver is and where he will strike next. Just as he discovers the killer’s identity the unspeakable happens, and Ravello is confronted with an agonizing choice: will he play it safe or make the ultimate sacrifice to save his loved ones and the city he is sworn to protect and serve?

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Do you enjoy thrillers with real science? Read Petroplague by Dr. Amy Rogers. Oil-eating bacteria contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles and paralyze the city. “Compellingly written, technically literate” “top 5 on my best of 2011 list” “the science is utterly believable” “I couldn’t put this one down”

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Guest post: BRAIN DAMAGE by Freida McFadden

ScienceThrillers.com welcomes physician and novelist Freida McFadden (AKA Dr. Fizzy McFizz, creator of “A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor“) to tell us about her latest medical thriller, and the odd neurologic deficit at the heart of the story.

Brain Damage by Freida McFadden. Medical mystery/thriller.

After years of hard work, Dr. Charly McKenna finally has it all. Prosperous career as a dermatologist? Check. Spacious apartment overlooking Central Park? Check. Handsome lawyer husband? Double check.

Then one night, a bullet rips through the right side of her skull and she loses everything.

As Charly struggles to recover from her brain injury, she begins to realize that the events of that fateful night are trapped in the damaged right side of her brain. Now she must put the jigsaw pieces together to discover the identity of the man who tried to kill her… before he finishes the job he started.

Support ScienceThrillers.com and the author by buying Brain Damage at amazon.com

Guest post by Freida McFadden

As a specialist in brain injury, one deficit that I see a lot of patients struggle with is something called left hemineglect. In this condition, an injury to the right side of the brain causes not only weakness of the left side, but a tendency to ignore the left side of the world completely. A patient with left neglect might forget to eat the left-sided contents of their lunch tray, may not see visitors on their left side, or in some cases, may even deny that their own left arm or leg belongs to them.

In my novel Brain Damage, a woman is shot by an unidentified assailant in the right side of her brain, and must struggle with the loss of the left side of her world as she recovers in a rehabilitation hospital, all the while trying to remember the events that led to her injury. Please enjoy an excerpt of Brain Damage:

I see that a strange man is standing in my room.

Unfamiliar visitors are not completely unusual around here. Actually, it’s entirely possible that I have met him before, maybe many times before, and I just don’t remember him. I assume he works here, based on his blue scrubs and ID badge hanging off his chest pocket. But there’s something ominous about him.

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