First of all, Rick Chesler’s “kiDNApped” has nothing to do with the Robert Louis Stevenson book of the same name, though I can’t rule out any influence here since Rick’s books tend to involve the ocean in some way. After all, he is a marine biologist.
But Rick’s books involve science, as well. Where WIRED KINGDOM was a tale of a whale-cam (influenced by Herman Melville, perhaps?) that accidentally records a murder at sea, this one involves a kidnapping at sea which is also recorded, but in a rather ingenious way—with living DNA.
kiDNApped starts with a bang when a diver’s employer is murdered and the body sent down to the depths—right next to the diver. Then the boat is stolen, taking his air supply with it. Not a good situation, but he manages to save himself with some old-fashioned ingenuity.
FBI Agent Tara Shores from WIRED KINGDOM marks her return as she tries to solve the riddle of what happened to a scientist who creates something almost as incredible as the cure for leukemia. Some not very nice people would like to get their hands on that creation and they’ll do anything—including murder, and lots of it—to gain singular control.
But the scientist left clues to his fate in a place no one but his own scientist daughter would think to look. You guessed it—inside a DNA sequence.
After her high-profile case in the first book, Agent Shores is transferred from Los Angeles to Hawaii, where she meets the family of the missing scientist. Like any good mystery, there are a lot of plot-twists that will leave you wondering who’s on which side. Suffice it to say that everyone in the family is not what they seem to be.
The thing about Rick’s writing is that he has the knack of putting you in the story. As a marine biologist, and I would imagine also an experienced diver, you’re right down there in those claustrophobic ocean depths. The descriptions of Hawaii are strikingly detailed and really made me want to go there for a visit.
WIRED KINGDOM was a great techno-thriller and with kiDNApped I think Rick stepped his game up a notch. Fans of Michael Crichton would probably enjoy this book. He has a new publisher this time out (Chalet Publishers) and some really great cover art by Stan Tremblay. I look forward to seeing more from Rick Chesler.