Thursday, January 19, 2017

Can't Keep It To Myself: Invasive, by Chuck Wendig

Authors and novels come up on my radar in any number of ways. Word of mouth from patrons, co-workers, or other book enthusiasts. Book reviews in journals, on blogs, on or other websites. Reviews from other authors. Chuck Wendig? I fell for his prose before I ever picked up one of his books.

Last week, I was scrolling through Pinterest and happened to stumble upon a link to Wendig's blog, Specifically, the link was to a post he wrote: 25 reasons why I stopped reading your book. In it, he writes with searingly brutal honesty and absolute hilarity the things that turn him off when reading novels. Please be aware, if four-letter words give you palpitations, you may want to skip it. That said, I have no such compunctions, so I've now read his post several times. As a reader, it gives me joy and no small amount of satisfaction to know that readers (and writers) share some of my hangups when it comes to reading fiction. Like what he calls "genre-shellacking"--books that open so laden with typical genre trappings that it's difficult to pick up actual story, key plot points, characters of importance, etc. Or giant walls of impenetrable text that make me want to weep for the sheer density. What I'm saying is, Mr. Wendig is my spirit animal.

So, obviously my interest was piqued as to what such a fellow reader might be writing. I took Invasive (published late last summer) home this past weekend and read it in a day and a half. I read fast, sure, but few and far between are the novels so compulsively readable that I cannot bear to put it down for any reason. Invasive follows FBI consultant, futurist Hannah Strander as she puts off a long-overdue visit to her parents in order to accept a consulting call from FBI Agent Hollis Copper. How can she resist when the only information he'll give her is "I've got a cabin full of over a thousand dead bodies."? Instantly, she's hooked, just as he'd hoped, and the case takes her from a cabin in the woods of upstate New York, to the labs of the University of Arizona, and on to a private research compound on an island paradise where everyone is extremely well paid, both for their work and for their ability to keep their work a secret. I actually don't remember breathing for the last hundred pages, the pacing was so intense.

I highly recommend this to thriller readers looking for something a bit off the beaten path. Fans of authors like Thomas Harris and Michael Crichton should make a point of checking out Wendig's work.

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