cover image Mutation


Michael McBride. Pinnacle, $9.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-7860-4601-0

McBride’s third Unit 51 thriller (after Forsaken) traverses continents to deliver a smorgasbord of bombastic plots involving alien invasions, viral outbreaks, and drug cartels. As in previous volumes, the paramilitary team of Unit 51 hunts down a sentient, alien, and ever-evolving threat, now in the form of “Subject Z.” Series newcomers should not expect much plot review to orient them in this fast-paced quest, but, despite the complex web of characters, readers will still find it easy to dive in, mostly because McBride’s fragmentary style splatters words, cultural references, and body parts across the pages and never hits the brakes—though some jargon-heavy, illogical scientific shortcuts will pull scientifically minded readers out of the world (as when a pair of scientists conclude that a mummified humanoid’s tattoos must be crucial to stopping Subject Z based on deeply faulty logic). Readers who allow the barrage of verbiage to stun their sense of disbelief are in for some thrilling entertainment. Agent: Alex Slater, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)