This is the second book in a series entitled The Origin Mystery, and you can see my review of the first one here. I have broken my recent habit of reading the first book of many series, most of those self-published, simply to see what the series is about and whether I wanted to continue. I have also been reading these for the purpose of developing my own writing: either learning from their mistakes or stealing what I consider great ideas.
As in the first book, I thoroughly admire and am challenged by the premise of this book. A secret organization unleashes a plague to not only destroy mankind but help man involve into being more capable of fighting an alien threat somewhere out there. The first book focused on two main characters, a woman scientist/physician who is researching a cure for autism, and a man who is part of a CIA-like organization. Both of their lives go kablooey when the bad guys start the plague rolling. The second book starts after the plague has been released, with the bad guys chasing the couple around the Mediterranean while the billions of the world continue to die.
It’s a wonderful premise, and just like the title says, it’s an exciting thriller. But the problems I saw in the first book continue on in the second.
First, it’s a very complex story. The story is told from the perspective of multiple people, not only in the present, but in the distant past. In addition, the main characters assume different roles in the past and present, and go by different names. Finally, some even change their names in the present, which makes it even more complex.
Second, it is a thriller, but it doesn’t seem the follow the typical three-act approach to story structure. It stays intense all the way through, so much so that I found myself struggling to stay with it until the end. There is no major climax in the book, but just more intensity. It’s exciting, but I found myself wondering if the excitement would end.
Third, again I wished the author would have developed the two main characters more. They are archetypal, and have the expected romantic relationship, but beyond that are pretty one-dimensional. I found myself wishing I could care more about whether they lived or died.
Riddle has a fascinating premise here, and is good with action scenes. He just needs to develop the rest of the story, and make us care what happens.
I give it two and a half stars out of five.