by Jeremy Robinson

(very good; top 50% of SciThri)

Year published: 2012
Category: science thriller; action thriller

Tech rating (out of 5):

Summary (from the publisher):

Lincoln Miller, an ex-Navy SEAL turned NCIS Special Agent is sent to Aquarius, the world’s only sub-oceanic research facility located off the Florida Keys, to investigate reports of ocean dumping. A week into his stay, strange red flakes descend from the surface. Scores of fish are dead and dying, poisoned by the debris that turns to powder in Miller’s fingers and tastes like blood.

Miller heads for the surface, ready to fight whoever is polluting on his watch. But he finds nothing. No ships. No polluters.

No oxygen.

Instead, he finds a cloudless sky full of red particles dropping like snow and coating the ocean with a thick film that stretches to the horizon. When a dead blue whale collides with Aquarius, Miller begins a harrowing race to escape the affected area. Cut off from the rest of the world and surrounded by death, Miller makes his way to Miami where he discovers just one survivor, and the awful truth: the strange phenomenon that robbed the air of its life giving oxygen was an attack by an enemy reborn from the ashes of World War II. And they’re just getting started. Miami, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo have all been destroyed. Millions are dead.

And if Miller can’t track down and stop those responsible in seven days, the rest of the world is next.


Nazis. So brilliant, so effective, so incomparably evil.

What’s not to like?

Action thriller master Jeremy Robinson exploits all the obvious advantages of these classic villains in his new novel SecondWorld. No, SecondWorld is not set in the past. You thought Hitler was defeated? Think again. Those German fiends have had decades to bring their biggest plan to fruition. Why would someone want to kill 99.9% of all the humans on earth? Because they’re Nazis, of course. How would they have the power and skill to execute such a plan? Nazis. Didn’t they all grow old and die? Hey, we’re talking Nazis, here. Uber-villains.

A reader can look at SecondWorld one of two ways. On the one hand, it’s a masterpiece of standard thriller form with a delightfully original premise that has a bit of science in it (not the Nazi part–the red flakes part). It showcases Robinson’s strength: nonstop action. Among writers of thrillers with scientific themes, Jeremy Robinson writes the best action. I’m including James Rollins here, folks. If Rollins is a 9 for action, Robinson is a 10.

On the other hand, it’s an over-the-top, formulaic plot that distracts you with shiny, cartoonish scenes of peril to keep your attention off the ridiculous conspiracies, absurd science, and inexplicable decisions (do they really have to go in alone into the secret underground bunker? Twice? And the floating “bell” weapon thing? Come on.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So my point is this: SecondWorld is a fun, fast book, perfect for the real or proverbial beach. It is the anti-literary novel. Grab your disbelief, suspend it out of reach in the attic of your brain, and just read.

{Must point out that a secondary character, “The Cowboy”, steals the show. Bring him back, Mr. Robinson!}

Update June 28, 2013: Apparently I’m not the only reader who asked. Vasily is back as the star of his own thriller I AM COWBOY.

Jeremy Robinson is a prolific writer with several series and many stand-alone novels to his name. If you like action-adventure with science, try his Jack Sigler/Chess Team series starting with Threshold, Instinct, and Pulse.

Biohazard rating: 3 out of 5. There’s real science in SecondWorld, some of it solid and clever especially the bits relating to the absence of oxygen. There’s also a lot of utterly made up silliness. (I have to mention there is no genetic marker for Aryan, even if you could do an instant DNA scan.)

P.S. Dare you to watch this trailer for SecondWorld and not buy the book:

FCC disclaimer: A free copy of this book was given to me by the publisher for review. As always, I made no guarantee that I would read the book or post a positive review.