2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
A single raindrop opens a Pandora’s box when the spawn of perverse genetic research performed during World War II is unleashed on an unsuspecting modern world. By dawn, only a dead city remains, eerily quiet and still, except for mutant beasts that hide from the light, multiply, and await the shadows of night to continue their relentless advance.
Ordered to investigate the unfolding crisis, biowarfare specialist Carolyn Ridenour barely escapes the creatures’ nocturnal onslaught, saved in the nick of time by Colonel Garrett Hoffman, who lost hundreds of his troops to a swarm that neither bombs nor bullets can stop.
As Carolyn and Garrett race to stop the plague, a battered and broken government prepares to release the fury of America’s nuclear arsenal on its own soil and its own citizens.
From its first sentence—“The extermination of the human race began in a salvage yard”—The Gemini Effect blazes out of the gate and never slows down. Based loosely on genetics research conducted during World War II, the story races through a complex and devastating arc of conspiracy and mayhem with breathless abandon.For a debut novelist, Chuck Grossart tells a tale with surprisingly little fat, and the book’s breakneck pace was a big part of why it won the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror. But it’s not only fast. The awards committee and I also loved the book’s “good guys,” particularly two admirable women—biowarfare specialist Carolyn Ridenour and US vice president Allison Perez—whose unerringly noble motivations provide the few moral beacons in Chuck’s apocalyptic world, where everyone faces imminent risk.What I love best about this story, though, is its commitment to upping the ante, again and again, chapter after chapter. I lost track of how many times I paused to ask no one in particular, “Wait, there’s more?” And until the very end, there’s always more: more stunning plot twists, more cliff-hangers, and more at stake in how it all plays out. As the conspiracy unfolds and the death toll mounts, we’re driven toward a surprise that forces us to stare into the mirror and face the often violent lengths we’ll go to to preserve our way of life.Yet The Gemini Effect is still a hefty dose of screaming fun. So buckle up and settle in for a wild, white-knuckled ride.
– Jason Kirk, Editor
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