Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA recommended
Author: Dean Lombardo
1940 – Deep within the jungles of the Amazon river basin, a young native boy leads a group of Nazi scientists in search of el monstruo. The boy, being smaller than the rest, moves fast through the dense forest intent on finding the prize and pleasing the strangers who bring food, medicines, and supplies for his people. He soon distances himself from the group and finds what he seeks. Unfortunately, he alone is no match for el monstruo.
Present day – Tom Goodman, an entomologist and expert on the control of invasive species, is contacted by the U.S. government to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several animals in a remote area of southwestern Connecticut known as the Lucius Pond Ordway Perserve – or the “Devil’s Den” as the locals call it. What he finds seems impossible but Tom and a team of isolated scientists soon discover what the young native boy learned years before – nature has found a way to bring the impossible to life.
In Vespa, Dean Lombardo has created a highly charged entertaining thriller similar to novels written by Crichton at his best. A cross between Preston and Child’s The Relic and the X-files season II episode Firewalker, Lombardo’s Vespa is crisp, fast paced and engaging. He seamlessly introduces just the right amount of science and entomology into the novel providing a plausible explanation for el monstruo. About ¾ of the way through, the limits on my suspension of disbelief were stretched, but by this time I was so engaged in the story it didn’t matter.
This is a really good book. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. What a spectacular debut novel. I anxiously await Lombardo’s next book.