THE IGUANA PROJECT
Lulu (242 pp.)
$32.99 hardcover, $17.99 paperback, $8.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4834-3270-0; February 28, 2017
In this debut novel, a lawyer hopes that cutting-edge techniques in suspended animation can solve his problems with the Mafia.
Attorney Patrick Brádaigh lives in Westchester County, New York, and runs the Law Offices of Brady and Sons. For years, while enjoying a seemingly idyllic life with his wife, Colleen, and twin sons, Nick and Andy, Patrick unwittingly works for the Leggiano crime family. When he realizes his mistake, he begins keeping records on the Sicilian Mafia and its murderous operations. To remove the lawyer’s leverage, the mobsters burgle his estate. Trying to steal the records from a vault, a thief murders Colleen. Ten years later, her killer might go free, but Patrick still smolders at the chance for vengeance. The Brádaigh family goes on vacation to the Galápagos Islands, and it’s there that Patrick meets Dr. Kryten Vandermere, who is researching how iguanas remain underwater for extended periods—which will help NASA place humans in hibernation during deep space travel. He explains to her his idea for storing violent criminals in underground sleep chambers, where they won’t burden taxpayers but can be awakened if necessary. Little does the doctor know that Patrick has the Leggiano family marked for a more permanent kind of storage. Arden crafts a sci-fi thriller that heavily embraces family dynamics and red herrings. He teases readers, for example, when Andy says that he and Nick “did a lot of switching around” as children but “never got caught in the act.” Arden also schools audiences in the finances of maintaining a prison: “The approximately hundred and fifty thousand prisoners serving life sentences alone are costing law abiding citizens over four billion a year in hard-earned tax dollars.” That many of the female characters are sexpots—especially Andy’s friend Ronni Marcus, president and CEO of Marcus Manufacturing—gives the narrative a pulpy feel. Intense violence typical of the genre plays a minimal role except in the opening homicide sequence and the surprising finale, which act as brutal bookends to a story that succeeds on the strength of its ideas.
Sci-fi and criminology deftly merge in this well-paced tale.
Please review Kirkus Media’s excerpting policies before publishing any portion of this review online or in print for any use. To learn about proper attribution and to ensure your use is in compliance with our guidelines, we invite you to visit http://www.kirkusreviews.com/indieexcerpts.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744 firstname.lastname@example.org