SciThri new releases: January 2013

This month’s 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:

The God Gene by Jaymie Simmon.  Indie science/religion thriller.

At an elite Chicago university, cancer researcher Rosalind Evans discovers that the genetic code at the center of the second chromosome spells out the Ten Commandments. Sure that her top-secret pharma project has been hacked, she launches an investigation. But that night, unbeknownst to her, the discovery is leaked to a popular blog and goes viral. The next morning, the world wakes up to the news that there is a message from God in their DNA. Public reaction is intense: to some it’s a miracle, and to others, a myth. But to a group of religious and political elites, the God Gene is a dangerous public delusion that threatens their very existence. With the media fanning the flames, Evans quickly becomes the scapegoat in a growing controversy. A pharma executive wants her fired, the Vatican wants her silenced, and the U.S. Attorney wants her arrested. A bizarre battle ensues as Rosalind Evans takes on the most powerful institutions on earth to preserve her scientific integrity, her freedom, and ultimately her life.

The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko. Indie thriller set in Africa with science, horror, and spiritual elements.

If you had to interview the candidates for a country’s new hangman, what questions would you ask? If your family was on the verge of death from starvation, and becoming a hangman was the only job available, would you apply? If you were hired, what would you do if the prisoners looked like your loved ones? All these questions were asked of people who never thought they would find themselves in such a position, until they became mired in the chaos surrounding the hangman’s replacement.

Zimbabwe’s last hangman retired in 2004. As the nation drifted towards abolition, no determined effort was made to find a replacement. However, the discovery of carnivorous flame lilies at the Great Zimbabwe national monument triggered a spirited search for a new executioner. Those who know why this discovery energized the recruitment effort refused to talk.

The frantic attempts to find a new hangman were impeded by the lack of suitable candidates. Well-placed sources confirmed that the fear of ngozi was a deterrent. According to this traditional belief, the spirit of a murdered person torments the killer and his family for generations. This is only half the story. Several promising applicants did come forward. None met the minimum requirements for the job. The selection criteria were designed to exclude the mentally ill, the vindictive, and the sadistic. However, they did not rule out the desperate.

This is the story of the aspiring hangman who was obsessed with securing the job; the sympathizers who fought to protect him from his prize; and the anxious men who believed that emptying death row would end their horror before the meat-eating plants constricted around their necks.

*Possible spoiler alert*:  I asked the author about the science content of The Hangman’s Replacement and this is what he said: “The basis of the story is a genetically engineered plant (gloriossa) that has been modified to become carnivorous: ie. if it is planted near a buried body it can seek the corpse. The creator of this plant travels the world and harvests material from exotic animals with strange characteristics that are used to supercharge the plants with specific strengths. Further, the “villain” of the book has surgical skills and uses organ harvesting as a core part of his plan which drives the story forward. Please note that the intersection of genetics and spiritual realism is also a core component of the narrative.”

The first pages of Chiveneko’s book, which you can read for free at amazon by clicking on the title, are quite intriguing.

Sudden Autumn by Lee Lindauer. Indie environmental thriller.

After his brother dies under peculiar circumstances, guilt ridden Craig Ruger arrives in Costa Rica searching for answers. He enlists the help of tropical researcher Kathleen Devereaux and is immediately swept up into an environmental catastrophe that rapidly spreads across the Atlantic and to the United States. Pursued by assailants and viewed as suspects by the FBI, Craig and Kathleen hasten their quest to stop the lunacy.

With clues buried in a COLD WAR past, they race to a National Historic Landmark, under siege by a high tech method, more lethal than Vietnam’s Agent Orange. They confront the terrorists and find themselves in the fight of their lives.

Chipset by Lior Samson. Indie tech thriller.

Madeira: charming, beautiful—and dangerous.

Karl Lustig and Shira Markham are expecting an easy excursion to the picturesque Portuguese island of Madeira, where Karl is delivering new military microchips to MIRI, the Madeira Intelligent Robotics Institute, and lecturing at the University of Madeira. The two of them look forward to exploring the island together, but Karl’s talent for trouble leads him to uncover a puzzle in the advanced avionics chipset he helped design with Israel’s IsTac Systems. His digital detective work will put him in danger and demand decisive action from Shira.

Chipset—a Homeland Connection thriller that also stands on its own—is a fast-paced chronicle of a vacation that becomes a history lesson about homeward journeys and personal discoveries. The adventure will challenge Karl and Shira’s notions of commitment to country and principles and will change the direction of their lives.

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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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