Wednesday, August 29, 2012

12.21 by Dustin Thomason

Welcome to the TLC tour for Dustin Thomason's latest novel, 12.21.

The blurb:
In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm.  Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC.  His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see.  Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a young Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a black duffel bag into her hands.

By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him.  And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors.  This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life's work and to one of history's great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished seemingly overnight.  Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate.  And only days remain until 12.21

World renowned expert Dr. Gabriel Stanton doesn't expect to encounter a patient with prion disease. When Stanton receives a call about an urgent case, he nearly dismisses the call believing that the resident has misdiagnosed the disease.  But careful examination leads Stanton to discover that the patient is not just infected with prion disease but that the gestation period for the disease is dangerously short. This disease doesn't just spread easily, it develops and kills swiftly.

It's by chance that Stanton meets antiquities expert Chel Manu when she acts as translator for the prion patient.  Chel specializes in Maya studies and has obtained  priceless codex from a lost city through the black market.  As she speaks to the patient, she learns that he may have visited this  same lost city and tries to learn more about his exploration - but for her own benefit.  Though not immediately apparent, her act of self interest has dire consequences and severely impacts the CDC's ability to control the spread of the disease. 

When she discovers her mistake, Chel works to reverse the damage, poring through ancient artifacts, going over oral history.  Fortunately, Chel's network and knowledge is deep.  Chel works hard to separate facts from myth. Stanton searches for a possible vaccine for the prion disease.   In just a few days, the disease becomes an epidemic and there is a growing sense of dread in Los Angeles which  is heightened by doomsayers claiming that the Mayan calendar predicts that end of the world will come in 12-21 2012.   Stanton and Manu team up to find a solution to this deadly disease while battling bureaucrats, antiquity dealers, and end of the world fanatics.  

Fast paced, complex, and deeply engrossing, in 12-21  Thomason delivers a scientific thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton. 
ISBN-10: 0385341407 - Hardcover $27.00
Publisher: The Dial Press (August 7, 2012), 336 pages.
Review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

About the Author:
Dustin Thomason attended Harvard University, where he studied anthropology and medicine. He won the Hoopes Prize for undergraduate writing, and graduated in 1998. Thomason also received his M.D. and MBA from Columbia University in 2003. Learn more about Dustin Thomason and his novels at

Secret of the Seventh Son by Glenn Cooper

Glenn Cooper's debut novel, Secret of the Seventh Son is an unusual thriller, set in three different time periods.

In present day, New York City, nine strangers are found slain.  The homicide detectives can't find any connections among the victims or the manner of their deaths.  But each of these people received a postcard with a coffin announcing the date of their death.   A legendary FBI profiler Will Piper is burned out and just counting time until retirement but he's forced to take over the "Doomsday killer" case.    Will Piper is assigned perky, enthusiastic Nancy Lipinski.  Lipinski is a little overweight when they start on the Doomsday Killer case, but her weight fluctuates much like their success in their hunt for the killer.

While in a small town in France,  a child is born - the seventh son born on the 7th day of the 7th month of 777.   His parents are superstitious and when the child refuses to speak, he is abandoned to a monastery.   The monks discover the child's gift and keep his existence a secret for decades.  Until the child's legacy is uncovered by archeologists in the 1940s.

Winston Churchill and Harry Truman work together to keep the monk's secret from coming out.  The discovery becomes the heart of an expensive government secret project.

Will Piper, the Doomsday Killer, and the secret that has survived centuries tie together in an engrossing and complicated novel.

ISBN-10: 0061721794 - Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Harper; Original edition (July 28, 2009), 419 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
Glenn Cooper studied archaeology at Harvard before becoming a physician specializing in infectious diseases.  After a career in research he became a biotechnology chief executive officer.  He has written multiple screenplays and runs an independent film production company based in Boston.  He lives in Massachusetts in one of the oldest houses in America.  Secret of the Seventh Son is his first novel.  Learn more about him on

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Win the new Jack Reacher novel! Contest ends on Friday

You have until this Friday to enter Shelf Awareness's giveaway for the next Jack Reacher novel.

Subscribe to Shelf Awareness and enter to win a free book!

A Wanted Man by Lee Child comes out on September 11, 2012.  This latest Jack Reacher novel picks up just as Worth Dying For ends.  A Wanted Man opens with Reacher hitchhiking off the interstate in Nebraska on a winter's night.  He's suffering from a broken nose, which he's patched up with silver duct tape.  He's ragged and unkempt, likely needs a bath and a change of clothes soon.  At 6'5" Reacher isn't the sort of hitchhiker that most of us would stop for.  But after an hour and a half, a blue sedan finally stops for Reacher.   It's in this enclosed space with two men and a young woman that Reacher faces his next adventure.  
ISBN-10: 0385344333 - Hardcover $28.00
Publisher: Delacorte Press (September 11, 2012), 416 pages.

I'll admit that I'm an avid Jack Reacher fan.  Part of what I love about the Jack Reacher novels is that while Reacher faces all sorts of different and unexpected dangers, he stays fundamentally the same.  When reading a Jack Reacher novel, I look forward to the situations that force him to use his near mythical physical strength and his exceptional powers of deduction to help those that need rescuing, to enforce his strong moral code.  A Jack Reacher novel is unlike the conventional novel where the hero undergoes a crisis, catharsis and is transformed. 

A significant amount of the action in A Wanted Man occurs in a moving car.  But somehow, Lee Child fills this drive with tension and uncertainty.  This latest installment in the Jack Reacher series combines a high level conspiracy plot, domestic and terrorist threats, and a satisfying adventure. 

Can't wait?  You can read the first three chapters on Lee Child's website. 
Thank you to Shelf Awareness and Random House for my complimentary copy of A Wanted Man.  Head over to Shelf Awareness for your chance to win A Wanted Man!