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on January 16, 2016
Harvey "Ben" Bennett is a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park. While out on a seemingly routine re-home of a bear that got a little too close for comfort, a bomb goes off in the park, killing his partner on the job. Bennett is soon thrust into an ongoing investigation into a new "bug" that is causing massive boils and rashes to form and quickly spread across its victims. He joins forces with CDC investigator Juliette Richardson as they try to figure out what is going on in Yellowstone and what is causing people to break out into these rashes, and then die.

I haven't written many reviews of the Michael Crichton books I've read, but let me tell you that if Orwell was the first book I ever read. Jurassic Park and/or The Andromeda Strain by Crichton was the first book I ever fell in love with. This book has all the pacing, writing style, and love that I always felt in Crichton works.

With that being said, I love a good bio-thriller. Anything where they dive deep into what the virus, or bacteria, or what-have-you and does it justice is usually a high rater in my book. Engima Stain just cruised up into 5 stars, the background of the disease was super interesting and I haven't read too many books that were about a similar idea.

The first thing I did when I finished this book was call up my dad and tell him I had just gifted him a copy for his Kindle. He's a fast-paced thriller fan, and I knew that he was going to love this. Bennett's character was just, interesting. I found myself spending time trying to figure him out, what makes him tick, why is he afraid of flying "he just doesn't like it."

The relationship between Ben and Juliette was a nice addition for me, it didn't feel forced or unnatural at all. Their characters, while seemingly quiet and stand-offish, were better when they were together.

There were some twists in this that I didn't expect, and when a book can do that, I'm always impressed. The relationships (both growth and history) were really nice additions without making this book super long.

Overall, Thacker has done it again. Blending the pacing and science of Crichton with his own unique twists, this book is sure to please many fans over many genres.

I honestly think that was the first book that I ever looked at from Thacker, but for some reason never read it. I have since read many of his short stories and I am currently reading The Depths, and enjoying that thoroughly.

View more reviews of Thacker's work and others at my blog: books.beergodblog DOT com
29 people found this helpful
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on July 7, 2017
This author needs a good editor. While I liked the basic idea of the book and found some parts interesting there were several issues that really prevented me from enjoying the book. The text was full of typos, there is no clear indication of motivation for the villains, dialogue is stilted or does not seem appropriate to the context and I personally had trouble developing any empathy for Ben, the male protagonist. He is portrayed as tortured and socially awkward but comes across as an ass most of the time and does not even have the redeeming quality of being useful in a fight.
7 people found this helpful
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on May 1, 2017
I came across this book as part of an ebook promo on BookBub and I'm so glad I picked it up. I read another review that compared the author to Michael Crichton and I can totally see that. In fact, I'd amend that statement to say this book is where James Rollins meets Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton, all authors whose work I love. Well-written, engaging, and sufficiently fast-paced to keep my attention. With a storyline that pits good against evil, the series promises to follow in the footsteps of the awesome authors and their protagonists aforementioned. I read it in a 24 hour period, which I don't always have time to do - it has all the hallmarks of a grand success, and I very much look forward to reading the author's other books (I've already begun reading "The Depths" which has a different flavor but feels just as engaging already!
6 people found this helpful
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Action thriller - enjoyable, a quiet protagonist with a history... nice start
.I have.been a historical thriller reader for ages - I like some.facts.worked.into the writing, and a follow up by the author as to what adheres to truth and what is fantastical. This novel has some real elements of Yellowstone national.park, and vehicles, but the rest, not much past a Hollywood plausibility.
I think what troubled me most is that another novel, titled "6th Extinction", by James Rollins came out several months prior to this novel. Enigma Strain has a good many aspects of the setting and initial plot; it is the same, only different.
I read some and used audio for some due to health problems. The audio is inaccurate, but still enjoyable. It is worth the reduced price. What I.believe needs to happen is there needs to beta readers so that there are not pointless.character flaws, secrets that have no bearing on the plot, and other side stories that lead nowhere. I want to read the rest of the series to see the improvement as.more.novels are written and more feedback is given.
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on October 4, 2015
The Enigma Strain (Harvey Bennett Thrillers Book 1)
by Nick Thacker
Mike Vendetti. Narrator

In 1704 a Russina mapping team in North America discovers a cave filled

with human bones. Within a day they are all dead.
Present day, a bomb explodes in Yellowstone Park, within days many of

the park employes are sick.

Harvey "Ben" Bennett is a park ranger at Yellowstone Nat. Park.He is 32

and a mostly a loner. He heard the explosion and was in the earth tremor

that followed. His partner was killed by the quake.

Julie Richardson from CDC,BTR (Biological Threat Research), is

interviewing Ben in the cafeteria when excited personel rush in with a sick

man. Julie and Ben leave by the back door and head to her truck. Julie

knows the sick man could be contaigious. She's right.

Introverted Ben and extroverted Julie make for an unusual team. I really

liked the way they played off each other. Glimpses into Ben's past explain

why he is the way he is. When the chips or down he comes through.

This is one thrilling book. The back stories that give insite into the origin of

the virus are right on. It's not hard to believe Russina explorers were here

in the early days or that their remains were found by students and taken

by a big Drug Corp.
I already knew that Yellowstone was a volcano. I've been there and seen

it. Not hard to imagine what would happen if a bomb really did explode

The tension builds through the story untill the very end and it is an adreline

rush. I want more of Ben, but it will be hard to come up with something to

beat this novel for suspense, action, and thrills.

Mike the narrator and he did a splendid job of it. His reading
was clear and concise, very well done. I could listen to it for hours, in fact
I did. Production was perfect. No jumps, skips, or static. A perfect
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on November 23, 2015
When I reviewed The Golden Crystal & The Depths I commented that Thacker's writings were reminiscent of James Rollins. This book continues that thought! I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this, his third book the characters were controlled and well developed. They are introduced in such a fashion that you can't wait to turn the next page and learn more about them, and the story line even more so! The suspense builds both in the characters and the story. No spoiler's here, though I will say I can't wait to read his next book!
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on April 16, 2018
I am not going to rehash the story line of this book - several people have already beat me to the punch. I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The description of the surrounding environments were "spot on" - not just the outside world (trees, streams, etc.), but the offices and labs. Main characters were fully developed - you got to know them inside and out - why they thought and did everything in the book. This is a seriously, in depth story - circles within circles. Everyone had motives - the one they presented to the world and the one they kept close to their chest. Don't assume who is the "good" person, and who is the "bad" person - you will be surprised at the end. (I was)
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on March 9, 2017
This book was great. It kept my attention with a few unexpected twists and turns that made it exciting. It's is well written with believable characters. I read most of it on our cruise, but then waited a week or so to finish it, only because life was busy. When I picked it up again tonight, I remembered everything about the story. How often does that happen? Be honest. I loved the book and highly recommend it. A very good read.
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on May 2, 2016
The Enigma Strain is a magnificent book about a new threat on the US - only it isn't from an outside source, it's from the inside.

Centuries ago, a tribe was wiped out by a virus ravaging their village and a white powder is all that is left behind, with some gold coins. It is found by explorers, who try to take the coins, to find the powder and also die of the virus rapidly - faster than any virus known to man. 100 years later, an archaeological expedition finds the powder and the coins and calls for help when the virus strikes, only to be wiped out by the guns of a mysterious black helicopter that arrives. Anyone who comes in contact with this mysterious substance dies.

But it is collected, carefully, to be used later. Then a bomb goes off in Yellowstone park and... you read the rest. This book is full of twists, surprises and well-developed characters that make reading addictive! You must keep going to find out if the main characters, unexpected heroes, can find the answers and literally save the United States from oblivion.
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on February 8, 2018
Well this was certainly different than my usual reads, but I really freakin loved it. I love Ben and the dynamic he develops through the story with Julie. IN fact, I loved this so much I bought book 2 & 3 (currently reading #2!) - I dont do spoilers, but I do love the villain (hint its not just a person). The story itself is not that far from reality - Yellowstone is a world killer that may blow sometime. Virus's are being created in labs all the time and we are always discovering new species and drugs in the wild nearly every day. You will absolutely love this series
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