I quite enjoyed Dean Crawford's debut novel Covenant (my review) so I happily picked up his second book Immortal.
Officer Enrico Zamora is called to a gunfight in the desert of New Mexico. The man is using an old musket shooter - is he part of a re-enactment group? Zamora is forced to kill the man to save the tourists he's holding at bay. His body is delivered to Medical Investigator Lillian Cruz. What she finds is stunning. He has smallpox scars and a musket ball buried deep in one of his bones. But, the man's body is literally aging before her eyes, disintegrating rapidly. Lillian quickly takes samples and sends her assistant off to the state crime lab with them. And that's the last anyone sees of Lillian - she's gone missing. But the lab results do come back - "Carbon dating, along with estimates of bone regrowth around the ball prior to extraction, confirms that the wound was sustained approximately one hundred forty years ago."
Crawford brings back his protagonists Warner and Lopez. They've pooled their talents and formed a company that does some fugitive recovery and some discreet sideline work for Ethan's old contacts in one of the letter agencies. And this is a case that requires their talents. Could this man really have been 140 years old? Are there others like him? Where is Lillian? Who took her?
Sound far-fetched? Well, yes and no. Crawford actually provides lots of references that had me hopping onto Google to see if they were indeed fact based. And yes, they were - 250 million year old bacteria was revived in a lab in New Mexico. Crawford's story also includes a villain who preaches the need for eugenics - the desire to control the earth's population. This character's diatribe is also very much fact based (and quite frightening to read about). Crawford has really done his research.
But he has couched this research in a fast paced thriller that was perfect escapist reading for the three days I spent nursing a miserable cold. The characters are a bit clichéd - the evil old man after the secret to eternal youth, corrupt official, the secret society pulling strings from their lofty perch. And yes, so are Warner and Lopez to a degree as well. At the end of Covenant, I see I wrote that I hoped Lopez would be carried into future books. Well, my opinion has changed. I actually found I didn't like her very much by the end of this book. So, Ethan feel free to dump her - Zamora might make a better partner. But, all in all, an entertaining read.
Recommended for those who love mysteries, history, conspiracies and adventure. Fans of James Rollins would enjoy Dean Crawford. Read Chapter One of Immortal. You can find Dean Crawford on Twitter and on Facebook.