Enigmalogist Jeremy Logan is back in Lincoln Child’s newest thriller, Chrysalis. Three high-profile board members of the Chrysalis corporation have been found dead in as many days. Before each death, an email was sent to the company appearing to take responsibility. Jeremy Logan is discreetly hired to determine if these deaths are connected and if so, how. Soon Logan and Chrysalis will be reeling as more deaths occur, all seemingly tied to the launch of a revolutionary VR platform in less than a week. It is up to Logan to solve the mystery and stop countless more deaths before it is too late.
Like all of Lincoln Child’s thrillers, Chrysalis is all about the story. Characterization is a distant afterthought in service to a rocket sled of a storyline. This is the sixth novel in which Jeremy Logan has appeared, and the fifth that he headlined. Even after that many books I still know next to nothing about the guy. Honestly, that’s fine. He’s a brilliant problem solver, he has a dead wife and seems to enjoy scotch. That about sums him up and given how fast the stories tend to move there is no time to slow down for non-expository dialogue anyway.
Unlike previous books in the series, it becomes clear very early on that there is no supernatural element at play. Most of the Logan stories hinge on at the very least X-files-like phenomena as a primary explanation. The threat in Chrysalis comes from an extortionist that has no qualms about murdering thousands of people to get what they want. The why is mainly irrelevant (its money) but the HOW is the novel’s driving force.
I will make this warning if you are a tech neophyte you may not understand a lot of what is going on. The tech jargon dialogue is loaded with terms like handshake, API, firewall, cascade failure, and others. Several of which do not have any explanation. I am familiar with IT so these terms were not a problem for me, but the average non-tech reader may be left scratching their head a bit. The technology is near future or at the very least bleeding edge making the novel almost, but not quite, science fiction (at least for now).
The talent of Lincoln Child lies in his plotting. Taking the solo novels from the writing duo of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child it is obvious that in their collaborations Child is the one mainly responsible for the story and Preston fills in the character bits. They both have a penchant for tension-filled potboiler plots, but Child is ONLY concerned with the plot. It is this strength and weakness on full display in Chrysalis. This novel is filled with dead bodies yet is treated largely as window dressing. There is no time to pause to reflect on loss, the novel moves much too quickly.
The story hangs together relatively well when it all comes together, although I do have some questions about the feasibility of the finale from a technical standpoint. There also is an interesting connection to the Nora Kelly series (written by Preston & Child) that left me wondering if it was intentional or just lazy plotting. Time will tell on that one. Regardless, Chrysalis is a more than serviceable thrill ride that will probably be devoured by the average reader over the course of a few nights. It has that crunchy “just one more page” propulsion, especially in the last quarter as disaster is looming and all hope is (seemingly) lost.
If you have not read any of the Jeremy Logan books before, this is not a bad one to start with. They are all pretty good for fans of thrillers. Terminal Freeze and its Antarctica setting is my personal standout.
The Jeremy Logan series:
The Third Gate
The Forgotten Room
Full Wolf Moon