Review: Cold Storage by David Koepp

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5

Synopsis

Thirty years ago operatives Roberto Diaz and Trini Romano worked for the Defense Nuclear Agency, a branch of the US Government dedicated to keeping other countries from developing nuclear and biochemical weapons. The two of them had been involved in some crazy shit over the years, but nothing as strange – or as deadly – as Cordyceps novus. If given the opportunity, this fungus could wipe out all life on Earth, but Roberto and Trini are determined not to let that happen. The duo manage to seal it in an underground facility, hoping it never again sees the light of day.

Fast forward to 2019 when Cordyceps novus is discovered by two minimum-wage security guards, Teacake and Naomi. With the fungus on the loose, Roberto is once again summoned to stop it. The clock is ticking as the three of them set out to save the world.

Review

Cold Storage is a thrilling sci-fi book about a deadly fungus (Cordyceps novus) whose only goal is to feed on organic material and reproduce by disseminating its spores. It does this by controlling the brains of the living thing it possesses and either causing that thing to explode or ejecting spores by vomiting.

I found the writing to be the most interesting aspect of this book. While this is his debut novel, the author, David Koepp, is a screenwriter (Jurassic Park, among others), and Cold Storage feels at times written like a movie. The narrative read like movie scenes, at times almost like there was a camera zooming in on a single object to call it out to the viewer (reader) while the characters remain unaware. Also, oftentimes it felt like scenes would abruptly end and a new one would begin, as if it were a movie going cut-to-cut. To me, these aspects of the writing add to the experience of reading the book in a positive way, enhancing the atmosphere and pacing and setting the mood.

The downside to Cold Storage being written like a movie is the dialogue. I found the it to be cheesy and often not believable. The author’s method of having characters speak without punctuation was over-used. To me, dialogue should strengthen the plot, but too often in this book it took me out of the story.

The characters in this book were billed more as actors than characters in a book. Roberto and Trini give off a Mulder and Scully vibe, Teacake and Naomi are young and flawed (but mean well), and the side characters all bring something unique to the table.

The story was really interesting, and the explanations behind the fungus and its processes get very science-y at times. In doing so, the author brings the book back to being bookish in this way, pulling the reader in again.

Overall, Cold Storage is a good book, despite its flaws. Think of it as The X-Files meets The Walking Dead. I recommend it for sci-fi readers.

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