Invasive: A Novel
Wendig’s Invasive sinks its mandibles in from the start and refuses to let go. Terse, yet eloquent, it’ll keep you up all night. Whether it’s to finish it or because you’re too afraid to sleep, well now that’s a different question altogether. And now I have the Pink Panther theme stuck in my head….
Hannah Stander, a futurist consultant for the FBI is on her way home to visit her survivalist parents when she’s called away by Agent Hollis Copper to a remote cabin in the woods with no other information than that it contains “over a thousand bodies.” Not human bodies, as it turns out. The cabin contains one badly mutilated human corpse and thousands of wee ant corpses. Like an army of tiny Ramsey Boltons, these ferocious beasties flayed him alive before falling to the coming winter. Okay, falling to an early spring frost.
Hannah’s job is to try to discover what the blazes went down here and if a crime had even been committed. She learns the ants contain proprietary genes from one Arca Labs, so off to Hawai’i she goes, to the remote Kolohe Atoll. What she uncovers is far more sinister than she ever could have imagined. And she can imagine a great deal! It’s part of her job, after all.
I love the language. Descriptive yet minimal, Wendig gets his point across in graphic detail, proving you do not, in fact, need a thousand words to paint a picture. Sometimes the right four or five will do just fine. To whit: “the eyes bulging white fruits against the muscles of his cheeks and forehead.” Yeah, forget everything else, that right there freaked the bejeezus out of me. I’m very eye sensitive, having lost one. It’s clear a great deal of research went into this novel. Given the propensity today to play god and create chimeras in the lab, Invasive rings a great deal more plausible than my beloved Jurassic Park.
Highly recommended, especially if you like the works of Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child.