Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Instinct by Jeremy Robinson
St. Martin's Press, April 2010
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780312540296
Chess Team Adventure Series #2
very highly recommended
When the President of the United States falls victim to a weaponized and contagious strain of a genetic disease—one that kills its victims without warning or symptom—Special Forces commander Jack “King” Sigler is on the case. He and his team of highly trained operators have been assigned to protect a CDC detective as she journeys to the source of the new strain: Vietnam’s Annamite Mountains.
Surrounded by old landmines, harsh jungle terrain, and more than one military force not happy about the return of American boots to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the fight for survival becomes a grueling battle. Pursued by VPLA Death Volunteers, Vietnam’s Special Forces unit, the team’s flight through a maze of archaic ruins reveals an ancient secret that may stop the disease from sweeping the globe—even as it threatens both the mission and their lives…

My Thoughts:
Instinct by Jeremy Robinson is the second book in his Chess Team adventure series. (Pulse was the first.) Fourteen years earlier cryptozoologist Dr. Anthony Weston was attacked and disappeared in Vietnam’s Annamite Mountains, the same area where a deadly plague, the Brugada syndrome, originated. The Brugada Syndrome has been weaponized and the President of the United States has been infected. The infection is on the brink of being released and would soon wipe out most of the human race unless a cure can be found.  The Chess Team (called this because their call signs are chess pieces - King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Pawn) are sent to this same area with a CDC agent to search for the source of and find a cure for the Brugada syndrome.
This is pure action/adventure escapism as the Chess Team fights for survival and to complete their mission. Instinct is a novel where you have to suspend disbelief and just go where the action takes you. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to read an action/adventure novel with a crytozoologist and a special forces unit. At the end, there is even a clue about what may be the next mission for the Chess Team.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big game player, but I can see why some readers might think Instinct reads like a video game with its fast pace. Instinct is a fast paced novel. The plot surges forward, which suits the genre. I appreciate the science included in the plot, but I am reading the book for the action - and it delivers action. Robinson also furthers the character development of the Chess Team members and includes plenty vivid descriptions along with the action.
Although Robinson has been compared to Matthew Reilly, I can definitively declare that Robinson is a better writer than Reilly. I think he compares more favorably with James Rollins, Clive Cussler, Lincoln Child, and David Goleman.
The dedication in Instinct made me smile. It says: "For Mom, even though I know this one will freak you out."
very highly recommended - this ones for action/adventure junkies

 Three months had gone by since Dr. Anthony Weston began his search for the elusive creatures, and now that he’d found them, they were going to kill him.
A cascade of sweat followed a path of crisscrossing wrinkles down his forehead and dripped into his wide eyes. The salty, dirty sweat stung and brought forth a welling of tears, blurring his vision. He couldn’t see the creatures clearly, nor the ground on which he ran, but he could hear them all around, calling out to each other. opening
Weston lost his footing for a moment and screamed. He was surprised by the volume and high pitch of his voice. It sounded as inhuman as the noises made by the unclassified creatures pursuing him. As he sensed the front-runners of the group closing in he searched for any hope of escape. In the movies this was the point where the hero would trip and slide down a perfectly formed mud-covered waterslide and escape. pg. 3

In many ways the creatures were more suited to a life in the trees than on the ground. Once on the ground, the beast stood erect, stretching its height to a mediocre five feet. If not for their physical strength, Weston might even have been able to fight his way out. But he remembered how easily he’d been thrown, as though he were but a child. pg. 4
Regardless of dress or duty, the spirits had slain every man in the village, first striking them with a mild fever and coughing, then death. Whether sleeping, tending the field, or washing clothes, men were struck dead. Some in midsentence. Others in their sleep. The spirits were relentless... to the point that the villagers realized it wasn’t spirits killing the men.
It was a plague. pg. 10
Then a pain racked his chest. He stumbled and stopped, suddenly dizzy. He checked his pulse... and found nothing.
His heart had stopped. pg. 30
"Bird flu is not typically contagious to people, but there are cases of it jumping species, and this strain looks like nothing we've seen before. It's mutated in a way that is just as contagious as any other flu, but it also carries genes, which it adds to the host's DNA." pg. 38
There is no quick fix here. It's more than a simple virus. The disease alters genetic code. Permanently." pg. 39
"Each of you will have a cardioverter defibrillator implanted on your heart. Without getting technical, if your heart sops beating it will deliver a shock that should bring you back."
"Should?" said Knight.
"Mortality rates in Brugada patients with cardioverters has been zero percent for the past ten years, but this new strain may affect the body in different ways." pg. 41

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