David Blum is called back to his hometown of Champaign, Illinois, from his high-profile banking career in Chicago when his father passes away. At the funeral wake, he receives a card with an ominous message, “I need to talk to you about what really happened to your father.” But when he seeks out the note’s author, Hans Meier, he has disappeared. Blum also suspects he’s being followed. Apparently, there is more to his father’s death than a heart attack. “His father always seemed to be fighting one lost cause or another . . . Only this time maybe the cause had fought back.” Both Meier and Blum’s father worked at the University of Illinois. Investigating this lead reunites Blum with an old acquaintance of his father, Otto Feldmann, “a doddering old scientist with a demeanor more like a friendly dentist than a criminal.” Blum dines with Feldmann at his home, a lush compound full of flora and fauna experiments involving gene splicing that Feldmann asserts will be used to feed the world. Observing Feldmann’s compound increases Blum’s suspicions that he’s hiding his real research. He soon confirms Feldmann is investing huge sums of money in cutting-edge genetic manipulation to advance twisted genocidal beliefs. There are only days for Blum to reveal Feldmann’s plot before a global mass attack.
With The Pangaea Solution, Jacobs has created a complex thriller--melding elements of ecological science and genocidal ideology. The protagonist, Blum, leverages his FBI background in a credible way by exerting more brain than brawn. Great details establish the soon-to-be-realized science behind the planned attack, yielding a plausible but imaginative threat. Readers may lose interest during the lengthy segments describing banking records, and the suspension-of-disbelief necessary to accept the involvement of numerous shadow organizations is at times disrupted. Despite minor flaws, Blum’s debut is an impressive thriller with potential for a sequel.
A deft blending of action and science helmed by a believable everyday hero.
Author: Charles Jacobs