Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Chimera - Rob Thurman

Rob Thurman


When he was 14, Stefan Korsak watched helplessly as a stranger kidnapped his 7-year-old brother, Lukas. He blames himself for starting the train of events that ended with the two brothers leaving the safety of their father’s compound. Their father, a Russian crime boss, seemed to get over the loss fairly quickly, which always puzzled Stefan. He remained devoted to finding his little brother. The story begins with Stefan at 24, working for another crime family to prove to his father that he has what it takes.

He’s never stopped looking for Lukas, and when a PI he hired gives him a lead, he uses every spare moment and every penny he’s got to follow it. The trail leads to a heavily guarded compound outside Miami. Stefan and Saul, the PI, manage to get inside and extract the teenager who is clearly Stefan’s brother. Now he calls himself Michael, and says he doesn’t remember much of anything before the Institute, but he’s fairly sure that Stefan isn’t his brother. From what Stefan saw inside the place, the kids are being brainwashed and used for medical experiments, so he’s not expecting miracles. Now that they’re out, they’re going to have to stay alive – and ahead of the Institute’s leader – long enough to get to safety.

While this is billed as a scifi thriller, it’s much more a story of two brothers with a little scifi around the edges. Stefan tells the story in first-person, so we know what he knows and see what he sees. It’s clear that the teenager who insists on being called Michael is traumatized and is no longer the same sweet little boy who was kidnapped ten years ago, but Stefan is willing to be patient with him. Nothing much matters but having his brother back and getting him somewhere safe.

There are plenty of complications along the way, some far more likely than others, and most of the book is a combination character study and prolonged chase scene. Those two shouldn’t mesh, but somehow it all comes together here. If you’re looking for a lot of futuristic science, or even the author’s more customary urban fantasy (TRICK OF THE LIGHT) you won’t find it here. What you will find is an unlikely hero willing to do anything to save the little brother he lost. There are some interesting twists and turns in the story, and the author leaves the ending open enough for a sequel, but this novel feels satisfyingly complete the way it is.

Rating: 7 ½
May 2010
ISBN# 978-0-451-46342-5 (paperback)


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