cover image Kill Decision

Kill Decision

Daniel Suarez. Dutton, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-95261-9

Perfectly blending nail-biting suspense with accessible science, bestseller Suarez (Daemon) establishes himself as a legitimate heir to Michael Crichton with this gripping present-day thriller. The U.S. military is in an uproar after someone used an unmanned Predator drone to destroy a mosque in Iraq during prayers, killing and wounding thousands. Since the drone bore American markings, the Arab world discounts U.S. declarations of innocence. Advances in technology have allowed such weapons to make “a kill decision without direct human involvement.” Meanwhile, professor Linda McKinney, an ant expert, has managed to tag each member of an ant colony to study the colony’s swarm behavior, but her research in Africa abruptly ends after an attack on her lab. McKinney is rescued by a shadowy figure whose true motives and loyalties are obscure, but who seeks to make use of her findings. Suarez manages to keep the reader genuinely in doubt about which characters will survive, and couples deft plotting with evocative language (e.g., Kinshasa and Brazzaville are “essentially Africa’s liver—circulating the population of the riverine interior through a pitiless Darwinian filter”). Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary. (July)