cover image Unrestricted Access: New and Classic Short Fiction

Unrestricted Access: New and Classic Short Fiction

James Rollins. Morrow, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-268680-0

Fans of bestseller Rollins’s Sigma Force thrillers (The Last Odyssey, etc.) will best appreciate this collection of 12 stories, all reprints except for “Sun Dog,” a novella starring series hero Tucker Wayne. In “Kowalski’s in Love,” a typical formulaic specimen, Sigma Force character Joseph Kowalski is introduced hanging upside down in a snare, having ended up on an island off Brazil’s coast populated by savage baboons infected as part of a mad scientist’s experiments. The attractive physician who frees Kowalski warns him that the island will be firebombed in less than half an hour, giving him limited time to locate an antidote that will save the lives of humans who have contracted the same mind-altering disease as the primates. At the outset of “The Skeleton Key,” another series character has an explosive charge locked around her neck, setting up another familiar ticking-bomb scenario. Author notes connect stories to the various series, complete with hype: a new character is “unlike any seen in print before,” and a discovery will alter how readers “view the very founding of America.” Many will conclude that Rollins’s blend of fantastic concepts, violence, and action works best at novel length. Agent: Russ Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Sept.)