by Rob Thurman
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463425
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Stefan Korsak is not a nice guy: he's an enforcer for a ruthless crime boss of the Russian Mafia. But there is one thing, pure and innocent, that Stefan lives for, and that's his long-lost brother Lukas. It's been ten years and now it looks like he's found his brother. But that's not all he's found...
In Chimera by Rob Thurman, Stefan can't get over the day, ten years back, when his kid brother Lukas was kidnapped from the family estate. He's been searching for him ever since, convinced he's still alive. Now his friend Saul has gotten wind of a kid who looks just like Lukas, down to his mismatched eyes.
Stefan goes to check it out and discovers the boy is living in a compound with a lot of other very unusual teenagers. He devises a risky plan to spring the kid, only to find that this teen--the spitting image of Lukas--calls himself Michael and has no idea who Stefan is.
Taking the boy is the first domino in a lethal chain, as the two are chased from Miami up the Eastern seaboard, through Georgia and on to North Carolina. Michael proves to have some very unusual capabilities, and his caretakers want him back at all cost. Most prominent is the man named Jericho, who Michael fears above all others. When Stefan has a moment to do some research, he understands why: Jericho is a supergenius genetic engineer and his pet projects are truly dangerous creations.
Stefan and Michael encounter dangerous grifters, betrayal, and dire circumstances, even as a bond forms between them. Will that bond be enough to save them when everything is on the line? Stefan better hope so, because his old employers have decided he's unreliable.
Thurman delivers a fast-paced thriller with plenty of twists and turns. The relationship between Stefan and Michael is the foundation of the story, and if it weren't believable, the story just wouldn't work. Fortunately, their dynamic is a strong engine for this story, even as fate throws literally everything bad at them that can be imagined. Stefan's set of skills serves them well, though they come with the baggage of being a scion of a crime family; his father Anatoly had pull, once, but he's a fugitive now himself and the Korsak name doesn't carry as much weight as it used to.
The characters are terrific--Stefan's wiseass attitude will especially resonate with the many Cal Leandros fans out there--and the pace never lets up, once the two leads are together.
This is not part of Thurman's extended urban fantasy world, but that's okay; Thurman shows a flair for handling SF/near future action. Here's hoping the author continues to explore new genres and master them as well.