There are mysteries to solve and ticking time bombs to defuse in Timothy Johnston’s second book in The Tanner Sequence. Readers, grab onto your seats for richly crafted, multi-genre novel in a world set 400 years into the future.
Homicide Detective Lieutenant Kyle Tanner has been diverted from a trip to Pluto with his soul mate (Shaheen) to investigate a murder at Ceres, a base on the largest asteroid in The Belt. A doctor is dead, one of three that had recently transferred from a research station called The Freezer on Europa, a moon of Jupiter. An autopsy reveals the doctor died of an aneurysm of his aorta – natural causes. The case is solved almost before it starts, and Tanner can catch the next shuttle to Pluto to join his love. Then word comes that Shaheen is dead, having just suffered a catastrophic aneurysm of her aorta.
One death by a rare medical condition is unlucky. Two within days is more than suspicious.
Tanner orders a new autopsy on the doctor. Remnants of an exploded nano-bot are discovered. The death was not natural; it was murder. And the murderer has also taken his love, Shaheen. (Or was she collateral damage from an attempt on his life?) He orders a medical scan on himself. Inside his aorta, next to his heart, a nano-bot slowly saws at the walls of his largest artery. Doctors tell him he has four days left. Four days to find a killer. Four days to find a way to disable the bot systematically killing him (ticking time bomb.)
He suspects the two colleagues of the slain doctor from The Freezer. And he suspects the answers he seeks are linked to their time at the research facility on Europa. Once at Europa, with his two suspects in tow, Tanner finds resistance, hostility, and secrets no one wants to be revealed.
All the while his time is running out.
The Freezer is well written, and the characters are fleshed out in a world where claustrophobia and a constant chill from living on a frozen, hostile world dependent on airlocks and environmental suits for survival, are routine. For science fiction lovers, the new world of the future is masterfully crafted, and the reader is there, in Tanner’s shoes half a solar system away. For mystery lovers, there are plot twists, lies, misdirection to wade through, and secrets to be revealed in pursuit of the truth. So many secrets. For thriller lovers, the clock is ticking. Tanner has four days to unravel the truth hidden in The Freezer to solve the crime and save his own life.
Just when you think you have everything figured out, Johnston piles on more, and more, and more.