The Enigma Strain

A gripping bio-thriller that has Crichton written all over it

5 out of 5 stars

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.

Enigma Strain was narrated by Mike Vendetti.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to like his narration at first, but he quickly grew on me.  Vendetti has a natural machismo that I think Bennett’s character would have (maybe slightly more subtly).  Vendetti seems to be a master at his craft and allowed for the quick pacing of this book to just flow off of his tongue.

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.


Buy It At Audible Buy it at Amazon


Written by: Nick Thacker
Narrated by: Mike Vendetti
Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
Series: Harvey Bennett Thrillers, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: 06-24-15
Publisher: Turtleshell Press

When a bomb goes off at Yellowstone National Park, threatening the stability of the world’s largest active volcano, the reclusive park ranger Harvey “Ben” Bennett is startled to realize that the blast itself wasn’t the only threat: the bomb released a virus into the air, and the outbreak is beginning to infect and kill more and more people.

Ben teams up with Juliette Richardson, a driven CDC agent working inside the newly-formed BTR (Biological Threat Research) team, to find the people behind the act of terrorism.

When the attacks get personal, Ben and Julie take it upon themselves to seek out and destroy the threat before it’s too late.

A race across the United States, chasing terrorists, dodging bullets, and escaping the threat of a deadly virus outbreak and military apocalypse.


thackerNick is a writer, but you already knew that, so he won’t waste your time.

If he were to describe his work (which is exactly what he’s trying to do here), he would say it’s a mashup between Jurassic Park, National Treasure, The Da Vinci Code, all of James Rollins’ stuff, some of Clive Cussler’s stuff, a little of Michael Crichton’s stuff, with a side of adrenaline, testosterone, and the good parts of the Michael Bay movies (but only the GOOD PARTS).

His soon-to-be-written Wikipedia page says that he lives in a cabin on a mountain in Colorado with his wife and daughter, and enjoys being terrorized by the three dogs and tortoise that share his life and do nothing but eat food and cost him money.

He would love for you to hang out with him on Twitter or on his website,


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