Thursday, August 23, 2012

12.21 by Dustin Thomason


12.21 by Dustin Thomason is a new and timely thriller.  It combines an ancient Mayan mystery with a modern day medical catastrophe.  It centers around the discovery of a new Mayan codex that may be the cause of, and hold the answers to, a deadly prion disease.

The use of the Mayans and the end of the long count calendar in December of 2012 is a natural starting point for suspense.  Adding a devastating and deadly disease with no apparent cure ratchets up that suspense even further.  The story alternates between present day and the end of the high point of Mayan civilization as related through the newly discovered codex.  That the solution to the present day crisis may be found in the ancient codex keeps both storylines riveting.

The characters are interesting and compelling, although the romance between the two lead characters seemed a little forced, or perhaps lacked sufficient foundation.  The story set in the Mayan past was always compelling and I almost wish that storyline had been an entire novel in itself.

Comparisons of 12.21 to the work of Michael Crichton abound, and that is certainly understandable.  The story is similarly compelling and intricate and plays with similar themes of dangerous technology or biology.  Thomason wraps up his story in a more satisfying way than many of Crichton’s books.  The ending to 12.21 was not what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised by that.

Thomason is a talented writer and 12.21 is a very entertaining thriller.  He is definitely a writer to watch.

I was fortunate to receive an early review copy of this book.