Juris Jurjevics

"The Trudeau Vector"

(Reviewed by Ann Wilkes NOV 16, 2006)

The engines screamed with raw power and the air howled past outside. Hydraulics whined.

"I hate this," said Hanley. "I want to go home."

The starlifter nosed skyward and Commode II slid inexorably down the rollered ramp for what seemed like hours…then tipped into infinity…

Hanley's stomach was in her throat from the weightless sensation of dropping…she was falling, like a stone.

Jurjevics delivers an engaging debut novel that stimulates the intellect and the imagination. In the Trudeau Vector, he touches on global warming, viruses, bacteria, prions, vectors, mutation, missiles, hibernation, harsh-environment architecture and incubation. And I've probably left half a dozen things out. He gives us a science lesson without our knowing it (that's my favorite kind) … most of the time. There are a few places in which his explanations are too contrived to be normal speech but rather done for the reader's benefit (but we're not supposed to notice the author speaking directly to us). For the most part, however, Jurjevics succeeds with the osmosis.

Our hero, Jessie Hanley is a disease detective. One of the best. A dedicated pathological pathologist, she is divorced due to her work. A lone wolf, she's the logical choice for a mission to a remote scientific research center in the Artic that is supposedly unreachable until Spring. With four deaths occurring out on the ice almost simultaneously, three of them with highly unusual presentations, the Trudeau research station can't afford to wait until spring. In fact, come spring, without help from outside, without knowing what killed their colleagues, the team won't be leaving…ever. And may not survive until Spring.

The technologies employed to protect the scientists from the sub zero temperatures fascinate our heroine and the reader right along with her. Trudeau's design protects its inhabitants from the cold and from claustrophobia while safeguarding the artic environment around it.

"The maze effect is deliberate…The convoluted spaces have a psychological purpose as well…The layout is big--a city block--but you'd be surprised how small that can feel after a while."

And did I mention politics? The word scientists love to hate, right? They have politics a plenty, especially once Jessie and other outsiders arrive. How suspenseful can a story be in which the enemy is unknown and microscopic? Terrifying, as I soon found out.

The mystery in this novel is expertly plotted. The clues were there among the myriad of red herrings. Very much like Jessie's investigation. Jurjevics pulled everything together into a neat and absolutely believable package. The danger of dying an agonizing death, every red blood cell destroyed, bodies contorting in convulsions, going rigid, their limbs at impossible angles, the whites of their eyes gone, is frightening enough. The method of delivery, the vector, is just as horrifying. And I didn't see it coming. I love surprises.

The Trudeau Vector is one of those novels that can fall into many categories. A delicately woven mystery, a well-researched hard SF piece and a spy-thriller all rolled up into a wild ride you won't want to end. I look forward to more spine-tingling novels from this up and coming author.  

  • Amazon readers rating: from 25 reviews

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About the Author:

Juris JurjevicsJuris Jurjevics was born in Latvia during the Second World War, immigrated to the United States with his family and served in Vietnam. He is the co-founder and publisher of Soho Press. Jurjevics lives in New York City.

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