Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SPIRAL by Paul McEuen ✰✰✰✰✰

Short Version
An enthralling debut thriller whose plot spans almost seventy years, two continents, and the life of a bioterrorism threat.
Long Version
I really hate over-hyped books.  They invariably disappoint.  As soon as I read a friend’s review of this one, I knew that this was one of those drop-everything-else-on-my-reading-list-and-read-this-now kind of books.  It just had me written all over it.
My favorite thrillers are generally those involving international politics and relations.  This one combined those aspects with biology and nanotechnology and produces as a result an intellectual adrenaline rush.  Crafting a plot for a thriller requires that tricky balance of pacing and credibility-and credibility is often stretched to keep up the pace.  Many times a thriller has left me flat because the plot was simply not believable.  Not so here.  Due to the excellent descriptions of the biological and technological elements involved, this one is downright unsettling.  I had no trouble envisioning the events unfolding on today’s world stage.
It has been a long time since a book has drawn me in so completely.  I started this one in a waiting room yesterday afternoon, read in fits and starts (think drive-through line and dance class), and until NyQuil had me nodding off at bedtime.  Today I read between assisting on math problems, cursive, and reading picture books (we homeschool), finishing during our lunch break.  Generally, I do not read during the day, but this book was unputdownable.
This book should appeal to a very large audience.  The plot was not at all bogged down despite the hefty dose of science, the characters were well developed and evolved as the plot moved forward, and even the settings were easily visualized.  I hope that Paul McEuen’s day job as a physics professor and researcher at Cornell University do not impede the publication of his next novel.  He will, I have no doubt, have a number of readers watching his web page in anticipation.   


  1. Trying to play catch up here because I've been gone on vacation. You read some pretty interesting books. I've gotten away from "interesting" and am doing a stint of "comfort" I need to get back to "interesting" LOL

    Did you ever send out our prize packages? I know it will take a while coming from Alaska!

  2. I sent them yesterday...I have been so behind the power curve, I apologize!

    Spiral was a bit of "comfort" for me-really fast paced read! I loved it!

  3. Care, I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! It's nice to know that we do occasionally overlap!

  4. Absolutely no need to apologize! I was just checking because I was away, and I didn't want to miss it. I told my in-laws to get my mail while I was gone.