12.21. Dial Press (Random House), August 2012. 338p. $27.00. 978-0-385-34140-0.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller (race against time)
Rating: Reminded me of a movie
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Gabriel Stanton, the go-to guy when it comes to prions, just received a call from Dr. Michaela Thane about a patient she has. She's sure that the patient has FFI, fatal familial insomnia. Gabriel tries to talk sense into Dr. Thane because this disease is so rare as to be impossible that someone would have it. But, the long-lasting full insomnia, the pinprick pupils, and the excessive sweating suggests that this case is real. Which is unfortunate, because FFI is not only fatal, it's highly contagious. 12.21 opens on December 11, 2012. We meet Stanton and Thane and their fatal patient, and soon after, Chel Manu. Manu, is called in to translate for Drs. Thane and Stanton. They need to find out where the patient has come from and all the places he's been in between. And they need this information before he dies. So we have a race against time to find out the origins of Volcy's, the patient's, FFI as well as the impending end of the Mayan Long Count, which could signify the end of the world.
Although not technically action-packed, the story of 12.21 compels you forward. You not only want to know where Volcy is from but how he got sick. As Stanton and Chel, each in their respective fields, try to track down the origins of the disease, we start piecing together all the pieces. Coincidentally, Chel, a leading expert on Mayan antiquities and epigraphy, has what she believes to be a codex from an early Mayan period. She also thinks that Volcy had something to do with this important historical artifact being in her possession. This book is filled with coincidences. The connections between the characters were a little unbelievable but the only way to have the story make any sense. And Thomason's dislike of meat, or at least the way it's processed, was a little over the top and preachy.
12.21 was just okay for me. Not good and not bad. It was like reading a version of the movie Contagion. The Mayan connection was very tenuous. It felt more like a sub-plot than the drive behind the novel. That being said, I already know someone that will enjoy this and will be happily passing it along.
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