Thursday, March 10, 2016
Zodiac Station is a suspenseful read set at an isolated Arctic research station. A Coast Guard icebreaker is plowing its way through the sea ice when they come upon a man who claims to be the only survivor of a terrible accident at the station.The man is Tom Anderson, a research assistant who recently arrived at the base. He tells a harrowing tale to the the commander about happenings at the base, including a murder and strange genetic experiments. Anderson is not even sure why he was brought to Zodiac- it was at the request of his former mentor who has been finding strange things on the island, and apparently wanted Anderson's help figuring them out. Anderson arrived at the island only to find his mentor already dead under suspicious circumstances, and things at the base quickly went from bad to worse.
The problem arises when two other survivors are found- and their stories differ from Anderson's. The overall narrative involves the Coast Guard commander trying to determine what happened at Zodiac and who he is dealing with, and we also get the POV's of Anderson and the other two survivors- sometimes telling of the same events in different ways. I thought this added a unique touch to the story- talk about unreliable narrators. Everyone in this story may be unreliable- or they may not. You never really know until the end, and I liked that.
There's a twist at the end I didn't see coming, and while it's a little chilling it's also kind of a disappointment. The ending feels rushed and it is hard at times to know where this story is going. Is it a contemporary thriller or is it sci fi? Well it turns out to be both, really. I was okay with the SF turn it just wasn't what I was expecting, and seemed a bit implausible. But in spite of that, this book was so gripping that I can forgive that. For the lions share of the book I was having a great time wondering who did what, who was going to get offed next, and who could be trusted (hint- probably no one).
The setting is half the fun here. The base, the glacier, the feeling of paranoia as everyone distrusts everyone else, being cut off from the outside world, the absolutely brutal subzero temps- it all works to create an environment where anything can happen next.