Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The plot of this B-grade shocker--Clements's second novel, after 6:02 --might easily have come from some low-budget '50s sci-fi movie. In a gory and unlikely scheme to save the world, Dr. George Pendergast genetically engineers a superpowerful, shape-changing race of carnivorous ``Loners'' to hunt humans and so reduce the world's population to a more sustainable level. When Deborah Kosarek, a curious employee of Pendergast's company, and helpful security guard Tony Garwood poke their noses too far into Pendergast's business, he sends his psychopathic assistant to eliminate them. Meanwhile, the Loners have acquired a Bible and developed a patchwork religion that defines their destiny: to kill all humans and take over the world. The novel's absurd premises--e.g., that Pendergast decoded the entire human genome in five years with a computer based on brain-like neurochips--are no better than its plot. With predictable characters, action advanced by coincidence and the not very frightening Loners--who speak in an unreadable patois of Bible bits and TV phrases (``So the ArrrrrrrK of the Fatherrrrrrr. Accept no imitationsssss'')--Clements's novel fails as surely as Pendergast's world-saving plans. (Feb.)
The author's debut, Bram Stoker Award-nominated 6:02 (Warner Bks., 1988), clearly demonstrated that Clements knew how to tell a story. His second is big on the slice 'em/dice 'em action typical of modern horror: the pacing is breathtaking, the imagery not for the squeamish. The fancy footwork, however, can't conceal the fact that the material is awfully familiar. Mad scientist George Pendergast and his evil minion create a race of shape-shifting carnivores to prey on humanity. Technical writer Deborah Korsarek learns of this warped population-control project and enlists the aid of former cop and All-American hero Tony Garwood. From there, the plot follows an entirely predictable course involving love, a woman in danger, and a final battle with the monsters. The lack of any convincing motivation for Pendergast, who comes across as a neoconservative caricature of an environmentalist, consigns this to the fluff category. Worth a look for horror fans, but not an essential purchase.-- Randall L. Schroeder, Augustana Coll. Lib., Rock Island, Ill.
As a first step toward eliminating worldwide overpopulation, a reclusive Nobel Prize-winning geneticist creates a breed of humanoid cannibals and unleashes them on contemporary San Diego. While news of the subsequent killing spree dominates local media, ex-police officer Tony Garwood and Deborah Kosarek, a technical writer for a biomedical research company the geneticist founded, stumble onto evidence that leads them unwillingly to the cannibals' lair. When the creatures develop their own, unanticipated agenda, defying their creator and kidnapping Kosarek, Garwood comes to the rescue. While Clements' somewhat farfetched scientific explanations and overemphasis upon graphic mayhem occasionally stretch suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, interest is easily sustained by a vivid and engrossing story line. For horror fans waiting out King's or Koontz's latest 'tween-tomes lull, this is welcome filler full of easily digestible, adrenalin-rousing entertainment.