Chimera (Jim Chapel Mission)
by David Wellington
Cover Artist: Photo: Man by Franck Camhi;
background by Benjamin Harte / Archangel
Review by Steve Sawicki
William Morrow Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062248770
Date: 23 July 2013 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Deep in the mountains of New York State a secret camp exists. It contains the results of a behavioral and genetic experiment. What it contains is about to get out. Once it's out, everyone is at risk. Now a trail of bodies leads from the camp to other places. More than one trail.
Jim Chapel, wounded special forces veteran, has been doing desk duty. He lost an arm in combat but has recently been fitted with a new prosthetic which will allow him to get back into action. He finds himself called to a secret room in the Pentagon and tasked with tracking down a few insurgents. Little does he know that those he is about to track down are part of a secret project to develop super soldiers and they are now in play as part of a much larger conspiracy that could reach to very high levels. As he takes on the mission he finds himself battling what he could only term super men. But, with the help of a veterinarian who gets caught up in chase and a woman named Angel who he knows only as a voice in his ear, he begins the job of tracking down and taking out the escapees one by one.
The basic premise behind the book is quite interesting and the motivation behind most of the action feels authentic. The pacing is fast, the plotting tight and the action almost non-stop. Wellington certainly knows how to put a story together and while there are no huge plot twists or surprises in the offing they are not needed as the tension created in the chase and underlying intrigue is more than enough to drive the story forward.
The only thing that nags at me is the background related to the choice of the protagonist. Chapel's only got one arm. Sure he's got a prosthetic but it's a regular one and not a six million dollar man one or one which makes him a cyborg. Not a big deal I guess, unless you have a few of the characters who are running the show talking about how they need the best in the country for this mission. Surely with SEALs, Rangers and bunches of other special forces guys hanging around Chapel is not the best? If he is I need a lot more explanation about why. Other than this, and I do consider this a big deal actually because it comes up each time he's in a fight and the damn arm gets in the way. Other than that an interesting and entertaining story.