26 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child

Title: Terminal Freeze
Author(s): Lincoln Child

Narrated By: Scott Brick
Genre(s): Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publisher/Date: Doubleday / February 24, 2009
Series: Stand Alone

"A breathtaking discovery at the top of the world . . . A terrifying collision between modern science and Native American legend . . . An electrifying new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child." - Goodreads

Case Study
Let’s take a journey, shall we? We’re going to the Alaska Federal Wildlife Zone, one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth. Sound like fun? Maybe not for you but for a small band of scientists this is a rare opportunity. Evan Marshall and his fellow researchers are there to study the effects of global warming on a glacier; however, everything changes when they make the discovery of a lifetime encased in the ice. Ready capitalize on the find, the media conglomerate sponsoring their research sends up a TV crew to make a documentary of the specimen despite dire warnings from the local Native Americans. The super mega “docudrama” proceeds as planned until a startling discovery comes to light—the creature they found was an ancient killing machine and it very well may not be dead.

The Game's Afoot
Before I get too far into my review I must admit, I’m no stranger to the stories of Lincoln Child. I’m a huge fan of the Pendergast Series, co-written with Douglas Preston. In fact, they are some of my all-time favourite books. Somehow Preston and Child manage to take the most ordinary settings—a museum, a small Kansas town, a cruise ship—and make them extraordinary. They do this by juxtaposing the bland locale against a smart combination of eccentric characters, supernatural elements and gripping suspense. Because of this, I’ve come to expect a lot out of Lincoln Child as a stand-alone writer. Let me just put this on the record right now--Terminal Freeze. Did. Not. Disappoint. I listened to the audio version of this book and if you ever have the chance to hear it, DO IT. It’s narrated by the wildly talented, Scott Brick, who also happens to be one of my favourite audiobook readers. Seriously, this guy will blow you away. I don’t doubt that a big part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of his amazeballs narration skills.

Another integral reason this book rocked was because of Child’s crafty storytelling. He weaves magic, mystery and science so seamlessly that the unbelievable suddenly becomes very believable. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no rocket scientist but I’m not a stranger to the subject either. Child obviously takes the time to research his facts and he does a wonderful job in weaving it into his fiction so that you, the reader, are able to understand and more importantly, believe that it is real. It reminds me of what Michael Crichton did with dino genetics in Jurassic Park.

Terminal Freeze introduces us to a slew of personalities ranging from the main protagonist, Evan Marshall and his team of scientists to the docudrama crew to the military personnel and even a few local tribesman. Normally with this many characters it’s easy to lose track of who is who or even care enough about any one of them. Child has done that tricky thing where distinguishing the main folks from the side-characters is really easy. I guess my only complaint would be that some of the film crew are somewhat stereotyped with the overly dramatic actress to the eccentric director and money-hungry executive producer. Generally speaking though, he strikes a good balance with the sheer volume of people in the book. There's also an inevitable flirtation between Marshall and field producer, Kari Eckberg. I really appreciated the buildup of romantic tension as opposed to the “insta-love” we’re used to seeing in so many novels these days. The relationship is left open-ended and doesn't consume the plot's direction in any way.

The best thing about this book is that it is suspenseful and mysterious as a thriller should be! I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I needed to know who lived and who died and exactly how it happened. It might have taken awhile to get to that point but it’s so worth it in the end because it becomes a non-stop thrill ride with chills at every turn! Child painted a very vivid, very scary picture of the creature and if you're a creature feature fan, it put me in mind of John Carpenter's The Thing. At first, I wasn't sure if the murders were due to the beast or if it was one of the crew themselves! It left me guessing and wanting for more through to the very end. Genre success!

Summary Prognosis
If you are a fan of suspense and/or any of Child’s other books then I highly recommend reading Terminal Freeze. It’s one of his best solo works to date. It may share some similarities to Child's other novels, but I say if you've got a formula that works, all the more power to ya! Here’s to hoping Hollywood goes the same route as they did with Preston/Child’s, The Relic, and decide to bring Terminal Freeze to movie theatres everywhere.

Rating: ★★★★½

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible 
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website 


  1. I've never read Lincoln Child before. I love it when the author can make science fiction seem realistic. This sounds like a well written and exciting thriller. Great review!

    1. If you like a bit of historical fiction mixed with a thriller, I definitely recommend both him and Douglas Preston. Their collaboration on the Pendergast Series (if you've ever read/watched The Relic, this was book #1) is one of my favourites!


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