cover image The Coming Storm

The Coming Storm

Mark Alpert. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-06542-1

It’s 2023, and the U.S. is in chaos in this disappointing thriller from Alpert (The Orion Plan). A new, militarylike police force, the Federal Service Unit, launches an operation in Brooklyn aimed at apprehending Jenna Khan, a specialist in the genetics of brain function. Jenna’s research, as part of a federal initiative called the Palindrome Project, involves manipulating “the genes of lab rats to make them smarter and faster.” Soon after FSU agents capture her, she’s rescued by a huge man who just calls himself Derek. From the superhuman physical abilities Derek displays, Jenna concludes that someone has used her experiments as a basis for testing gene manipulation on humans. Meanwhile, the Trump-like president, who’s suffering from dementia, is increasingly incapacitated, leaving the country in the hands of his Machiavellian son-in-law, White House senior adviser Vance Keller, who’s unrelentingly ruthless in his quest for even more power. Over-the-top developments undermine this as plausible prophetic speculative fiction. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Jan.)