Medallion Press, Inc
Print ISBN(s): 9781934755556
One of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited was Yellowstone National Park. As a geology student, I couldn’t get enough of the scenery and unusual opportunities for learning about geothermal activity. A large portion of Julie Korzenko’s scientific thriller Devil’s Gold is set in this unique location.
Cassidy Lowell worked for ZEBRA for a number of years, but this was the first time she let the end of an assignment get to her. Her studies and reports on the Niger Delta’s ecological status following energy development by New World Petroleum were hardly finished, but being carried out under fire over the shoulder of a Black Stripe rescuer gave her the idea that someone really didn’t want her to finish her studies.
Reassigned to research a declining wolf population back home in Yellowstone National Park should have been like a vacation to her. Having grown up in the region, she was both happy and sad to be back. The scenery was as amazing as ever, but with her parents dead, most of her personal ties were gone.
While studying the research on the wolves in the area, Cassidy and her lead biologist Jake Anderson found a lot more than they bargained for. Dead bodies – of both humans and wolves – had begun to stack up and someone was out there following Cassidy in the shadows.
As time passed, Cassidy’s team uncovered a mutation of the Parvo Virus that was attacking both the humans and the wolves. The problem was the virus could not have mutated in such a fashion naturally – it had to have had help.
So who had created this virus and why? And who was following her? And why was she forced out of the Niger Delta? And why did Jake seem so familiar? Cassidy needed to find answers to all of these questions and more.
Julie Korzehko has created a thoroughly researched and sublimely readable thriller with Devil’s Gold. If you have ever been to Yellowstone many of the places described will be familiar to you as they were to me.
The story progresses quickly with a cast of well developed characters and several plot twists to keep you guessing. As a scientific thriller, this book fits the bill quite well. There is also a hint of romance in Devil’s Gold that seems to work under the circumstances.
The one weak point in this book is the ending. After tying up all the loose ends of both the Yellowstone and Niger Delta projects, the author attempts to give closure to the romantic thread in the story. Unfortunately the conclusion was abrupt and did not fit with the personalities of the characters. This clunky ending caused me to grade this otherwise great book one level lower since it appeared the author just gave up. As a reader, it left me disappointed since such care had been taken with detail and plot in the rest of the book.
If you like thrillers with a scientific bent, Devil’s Gold is the book for you. It really is a wonderful read… just skip the last chapter.
Reviewed By Sabine Maurier
© April 2009