Pros: Gorgeous, cinematic story with a great deal of personality
Cons: Might start a little slow for some; I wanted a little more about Jericho
Rating: 4 out of 5
Stefan Korsak is a bodyguard for the Russian Mafia in Miama, Florida. Once he would have preferred to join the police, but since his younger brother Lukas was kidnapped ten years earlier, this is the only way for Stefan to easily make enough money to continue the search. Even Stefan’s well-connected father has given up. Then finally one of his contacts pays off—Lukas was sighted and trailed back to some sort of armed compound.
Now Stefan is going to have to draw on all of his resources. He needs to liberate his brother from the mysterious armed compound, but as daunting as that seems, it might end up being the easy part. Lukas has been brainwashed, and no longer remembers his brother. He’s also been trained and medically altered in ways that could make him very dangerous to Stefan, himself, and anyone else they come across. Toss in a very angry mob boss since Stefan ran off, as well as the armed men trying to retrieve Lukas, and the brothers’ reunion could be short indeed.
These days I’m kept so busy reviewing books that it’s rare for me to buy & catch up on an author’s old works. That should give you some idea of how much I love Rob Thurman’s work; I keep picking up her books whether I get them for review or not. In this case I couldn’t resist Chimera, a dark, gritty, dangerous, sardonic tale of family, identity, and danger.
This isn’t a straight-out thriller, and if you’re looking for pulse-pounding action on every page you might be disappointed. It’s more introspective than that, with a more gradual buildup. I loved it, but it’s a matter of expectations and taste (hence my attempt to make sure you know what to expect). However, because Chimera has more depth and introspection than some such futuristic thrillers, I also wanted a bit more depth to Jericho, the bad guy of this tale. In some ways it’s appropriate to the tale that he primarily appears within it as a bogeyman, but I’m hoping that in later books we might find out more about him. (There will be more books, right? I hope? This one stands alone well, but I want more!)
Lukas and Stefan have some of the sardonic wit and brotherly interactions that readers might be familiar with from Thurman’s Leandros brothers, but they also have their own personalities and unique interactions. Thus, while the authorial voice and style are consistent, the characters stand on their own two feet. I love Thurman’s use of language, the images and ideas she conveys. I also love her ability to explore familial relationships—both those between blood relatives, and those between other sorts of “family” members.
This is one of those rare books that I think would make a fantastic movie, or first half of the first season of a TV series. It’s cinematic and engrossing, and has great potential for ongoing story material.