Review: David Koepp delivers a chilling first novel

“Cold Storage,” a novel by David Koepp.

The story line in “Cold Storage” by David Koepp, the screenwriter for films including “Jurassic Park” and Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” invokes classic horror films such as the 1982 version of “The Thing” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Paranoia and mayhem ensue. Koepp’s writing gets a bit gruesome at times, but he knows how to invoke chilling scenes with memorable characters. It’s clear he has a background in screenplays because the novel has a cinematic flair to the entire tale. It’s scary, and a great deal of fun.

In “Cold Storage,” when Skylab falls apart in the early 1970s and crashes to Earth, some of the pieces land in a remote area of Australia. In December 1987, an attempt to remove rust from one of the artifacts triggers a response in a dormant fungus that was inside. The life-form spreads like wildfire and kills all of the inhabitants in the town. The Pentagon receives word of a potential biochemical attack and sends operative Roberto Diaz and his partner to investigate. They discover the bodies and realize this organism will not stop unless they burn the entire area to ruin. They take a tiny sample for study and lay waste to the town.

The sample shows frightening properties that if left unchecked could turn into an extinction level event for the entire world. Rather than continue the study, the specimen is buried in cold storage, and over time is forgotten. When the fungus is awakened in 2019, the path to save humanity falls upon a security guard who doesn’t like his job, a co-worker he has a crush on, and Diaz, who is shocked to find he has to fight this scourge again — and this time it might be too late.

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