Origin – JA Konrath published by Pinnacle Books in 2009. I read the mass produced paperback, (I don’t think there was a hard cover of this) running 341 pages. Its not exactly a mystery, but its billed as a thriller, and though its suspenseful, most of the punches that are thrown in this yarn are fairly well telegraphed. There is a fairly predictable ending to this, but it’s a quick read and has a slight thread of humor running through it. Though most of Andy’s humor falls flat. I don’t know if that’s intentional of not as I’ve read a couple of JA Konrath’s Jack Daniels series and he’s very good at weaving humor through those stories.
This story is about a hibernating creature being held at a super-secret underground base, where the President is oddly always a quick pone call away. The base is staffed with a very small group of specialists all of whom have had some major trauma in their past. They are each on some level ‘damaged goods’. But when the creature awakens, the need for a specialist in languages brings the protagonist Andy to the facility. Andy though doesn’t seem to have any major trauma in his history, other than dodgy tax practices.
But Andy’s specialty is not as vital as it once was though since the creature, awakened, has quickly taken to and become well conversed in English and is able to be subjected to questions. Andy then focuses his talents on transcribing the capsule that contained the creature when it was discovered.
Well, best laid plans and all that, seems the creature has an agenda of its own. The nature of the beast is slowly revealed, and the bodies start piling up. Each death having something to do with the trauma from each victim’s past. As I said, you can see many of these punches coming. In the end… will any survive? Can any survive? Can you beat the devil and win?
“What’s you impression of our General Race?” Andy asked, holding open the Red Arm door.
“He’s good at manipulating people. I wonder why he’s here though. The army only has so many generals. Why stick one underground for forty years?”
“Something to do with his wife?” Andy suggested. “Dr. Belgium told me about her disease.”
“I don’t think so. She didn’t become symptomatic until a few years ago.”
“Maybe we should ask him. He seems honest. Well, as honest as the military can get. What’s Dr. Harker’s problem?”
“You noticed it too?”
“Yeah the lady seems to have a large assortment of bugs up her ass.”
Sun punched in the code for the first gate. “She has problems relating to people, I think.”
“And Dr . Belgium… don’t get me wrong. I like the guy. But he seems to be one slice short of a sandwich himself.”
“Yeah,” Sun agreed. “And the holies. Odd ducks both of them. Father Thrist’s little outburst didn’t wear well with the Roman collar.”
Andy sad, “Maybe we’re not all here because we’re perfect for the job.”