Sudden Onset by Tom Dardick – Book Review

Posted June 21, 2021 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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Sudden Onset by Tom Dardick – Book Review

Sudden Onset

by Tom Dardick, Chris Dardick

Published by Immortal Works
Publication Date June 8, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction, Suspense
Setting: Antarctica, Utah, California Contemporary
Written for: Adults
Pages: 454


UC Berkeley Professor of Microbiology, Dr. Mira Wallace, is brilliant, driven, and single-minded. She must find out how Life on earth began. Maybe it's her autism, maybe it's something in her past, but she suffers the most extreme environments on Earth in the search for ancient life. In the genetic codes of those simple microbes, she finds clues to help her solve one of nature's most challenging puzzles. As the story begins, we find her in Antarctica, risking life and limb in the nearly-impossible effort to sample an ancient subterranean lake. Success within her grasp, the US Army summons Mira to investigate a mysterious biological threat in a Southern Utah desert.

SONA (Sudden Onset Necrosis Agent) is a new pathogen unlike anything known to science. Resilient and aggressive, it threatens Earth's entire biosphere, making Mira fear that she may have just found deadly evidence of the ancient life she's been searching for.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Pulled from the frigid summer of Antarctica by military escort, Mira Wallace’s life changed radically in this thriller by first-time author, Tom Dardick.

Mira was a fascinating character! I had forgotten reading in the synopsis that she was autistic. Yet very shortly into Sudden Onset, I came to that conclusion for myself. The authors portrayed her realistically and sensitively. One of the things I appreciated about Mira was her willingness to take time to study the facts instead of attempting to use science to prove her position on things. And her willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

The characters were all well developed – I loved many of them. But don’t get too attached! You just might discover that one or two of your favorites come to an untimely and painful end. Because, yes, SONA is highly destructive. And because of this and the measures taken to stop it, there was a bit of gore – but not described in detail.

Filled with peril and a race against time, this Sci-Fi Thriller was heavy with scientific details – which were admittedly a bit over my head. I do love learning from the stories I read but confess that I ended up skimming through some of them to get on with the rest of the story because there were so many.

While I didn’t see any indication of a sequel, the ending lent itself to the conclusion another story is on the way. Yes, loose ends were tied up, mostly, yet all indications were for more to come. (Update – I learned since I wrote this that Sudden Onset is indeed the first of a series.)

Readers who love thrillers should give this debut novel a go.

One final note, the website for the book has some interesting pages, including illustrations of Mira’s DNA bracelet. I recommend a visit there as well.

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