Icebound * Dean Koontz

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A team of 8 scientists gets trapped on an iceberg, 12 hours away from detonation. With so many perils: not enough food, warmth, ticking bombs and a killer among them, will they survive?

[Reread 08/06/2022] Still a great suspense thriller from one of the greatest!

The arctic night is endless. The fear is numbing. Screams freeze in the throat. Death arrives in shades of white. And cold-blooded murder seems right at home.

Conducting a strange and urgent experiment on the Arctic icefield, a team of scientists has planted sixty powerful explosive charges that will detonate at midnight. Before they can withdraw to the safety of their base camp, a shattering tidal wave breaks loose the ice on which they are working. Now they are hopelessly marooned on an iceberg during a violent winter storm. The bombs beneath them are buried irretrievably deep…and ticking. And they discover that one of them is an assassin with a mission of his own.

This book is quite a different style to others by Dean Koontz. He chooses to use a more ‘real to life’ suspense scenario which works wonderfully.

An iceberg is broken away from the main land, carrying a team of people and a large amount of seriously large explosives. The explosives are buried within the ice and are all due to explode within a set time.

The thrilling chain of events that follows, in the race to dis-arm all the explosives, is positively gripping.

The action is fast paced, the chapters are split per hours until detonation and the best part of the book is seeing how the most inner monsters can surface when faced with death. One of the team members is knocked out and left to die in the cold. He is fortunately found on time and now there is an extra threat on the line: a cold blooded murderer is among the crew.

So, if we recap, here’s the setting:

– one massive iceberg

– 40+ ticking bombs

– -20 degrees with a wind that makes it feel like -60

– food to last for one more day

– the two large ships that were coming to the rescue return to base because of the storm

– low visibility

– the only place to be warm are on the snow mobiles and the gas is running low

– a killer in the group

– communication to base is dropping as the iceberg moves south.

The odds are so against them that you get the feeling that this is going to be a book talking about cannibalism or something similar when they won’t be rescued.

Spoiler alert: they do get help from a Russian espionage Submarine that was on a secret mission in the area. I felt that the “why” of the rescue was a bit far stretched even for Dean Koontz as I don’t feel that a high ranking military official will face the martial court for acting on emotion rather than thought. Yes, he wanted to be a hero for these people if he couldn’t be for his son.

Good parts for the book: The love story between Rita and Harry

Bad parts: How Mr. Lin overcome his life long aversion towards communism, the death of the killer, the too short time span from being saved to detonation.

I think that the author wanted so badly to make a happy ending to this book that he took some of the fun away. And by fun, I mean bigger margins for error.

Arctic Pioneers

Either way, you will not be able to put this page turner down, no matter how hard you try…

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