Review: Cold Storage by David Koepp

When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.

Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy. Only Diaz knows how to stop it.

He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother. Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again. All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor. Will that be enough to save all of humanity?

This was a great fast paced, life or death (with plenty of the latter), humourous and human romp.

I really liked the friendship that Teacake and Naomi developed over the course of the book, it never felt forced or too fast. Teacake was instantly likeable despite his somewhat checkered past and Naomi complemented him well.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a screen writer, I felt like I could visualise the whole novel happening in front of me as I read it. Koepp’s style was easy to engage with and bought the story fully to life.

All the characterisation in this book felt well written, there were no two dimensional characters here. In fact by one criticism of the authors style is that at times the Cordyceps fungus felt a little too anthropomorphised to me, assigned thoughts that I’m pretty sure a fungus can’t have (but then again this is Science Fiction so maybe it can!)

This didn’t detract from the story though, in fact if anything it made it more accessible. There are obvious comparisons to be drawn here with The Girl With All the Gifts by M R Carey, who also used the Cordyceps fungus to great effect in his work.

Spoilers for The Girl With all the Gifts follow

Whereas M R Careys Cordyceps variation fully created zombies of its victims for quite some time before they ‘fruited’, David Koepp chose to have his Cordyceps variation kill its victims in fast and gruesome explosions. With Careys story we see the world after the fungus has (mostly) won it’s battle, Koepp’s is at the beginning of its mutation and focused on the efforts to stop the spread.

I enjoyed both stories and would recommend both to anyone who enjoys dystopian science fiction but I think on balance Carey’s Cordyceps variation felt more realistic to me. Perhaps because of the aforementioned anthropomorphism that Koepp gave his.

All in all, a romping good read.

With thanks to Harlequin UK and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for honest review.

Cold Storage is available now.

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