cover image The Third Instinct

The Third Instinct

Kent Lester. Forge, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8224-5

Lester’s fun sequel to 2017’s The Seventh Sun finds computer genius Dan Clifford with a new startup company that specializes “in the art of predicting the seemingly unpredictable, like future burglary targets in midtown Atlanta or likely embezzlement opportunities in state government.” Dan’s superior hacking skills lead the FBI to ask for his help after a daring and seemingly impossible theft. An “organism posing a danger far worse than any coronavirus,” which Dan and his biologist girlfriend, Rachel Sullivan, discovered and contained in the previous book, was stolen from GenTropics Pharmaceuticals in Savannah, Ga., despite being stored in a supposedly impregnable room. The FBI suspects hackers calling themselves the Firemen are behind the crime, and, knowing the risk the organism poses to human life, Dan agrees to try to infiltrate the group. Meanwhile, Rachel gets some devastating news that changes her relationship with Dan. Lester isn’t as good as authors such as Daniel Suarez or Chris Holm in integrating plausible future science into his plot, but he never lets his foot off the gas en route to the dramatic climax. Those who prefer plot to characterization will be entertained. (Dec.)