cover image The Annihilation Protocol

The Annihilation Protocol

Michael Laurence. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-15851-2

Laurence’s overwrought sequel to 2019’s The Extinction Agenda offers more of the same. The sinister syndicate known as the Thirteen, whose tendrils reach into the U.S. government, has already cost FBI agent James Mason dearly. His IRS agent wife was killed after she stumbled on their “century-old plot to murder countless people with a genetically engineered flu virus.” Now he faces another threat with a connection to the Thirteen—a serial killer known as the Scarecrow, who poses his victims to resemble scarecrows. Meanwhile, Mason has to trace a huge missing cache of a chemical weapon capable of wiping out “the entire population of the Earth several times over.” His desperate quest takes him from Colorado to Manhattan for a climactic showdown. The overly busy plot isn’t helped by awkward prose (“He possessed a preternatural understanding of high finance and the ability to bend technology to his will, skill sets he’d combined to re-create the secret website the Thirteen had used to both communicate and manipulate global financial events”). Fans of cartoonish apocalyptic thrillers will best appreciate this one. [em]Agent: Alex Slater, Trident Media Group. (Aug.) [/em]