Spiral by Paul McEuen

It’s March 1946, WWII is over, and Liam Connor is aboard the USS North Dakota in the South Pacific. He is an Irish scientist working for the British government and a specialist in fungi. Conner is there to help the United States determine if the Japanese, realizing that the war was lost, have created a doomsday weapon — a deadly fungus capable of spreading its spores around the world and killing millions upon millions of people. And so begins the first ever novel by Paul McEuen, Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics at Cornell University.

The fungus is known as ‘Uzumaki’ and seven Japanese citizens have volunteered for this suicide mission. All were on submarines, four of which were sunk to the bottom of the Pacific, hopefully sealing the capsules containing the fungus forever. Two are missing but presumed resting at the bottom of the ocean. However, one of the seven Japanese, Hitoshi Katano, is captured and the capsule containing the fungus is secured in the possession of Connor. Liam makes a decision that will affect people 65 years later as he decides to keep the capsule in his possession.

Liam Connor eventually moves to the United States and becomes a Science Professor at Cornell University. Now 86 years old and retired, he continues to live in Ithaca with his granddaughter, Maggie and his great grandson, Dylan. He is still doing research when he suspects he is being followed or stalked. And then the unthinkable happens; Liam is found dead at the bottom of one the beautiful gorges that surround the Cornell campus. And so the mystery begins…. Witnesses say he jumped but there is a mystery woman close at his heels. Was this a suicide or a murder?    Who is the woman and what part has she played in Liam’s death? What no one in Liam’s family knows is that the US government is still trying to find out if any of the ‘Uzumaki’ fungus still exists. If it does, it is essential to find a cure. Jake Sterling, another Cornell Professor and a friend of Liam’s and Maggie is drawn into the mystery.

Paul McEuen has written an exciting, fast-paced first novel — one that lovers of good science fiction and thrillers will find fascinating. Let’s hope that McEuen has more books to write.

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2 Responses to “Spiral by Paul McEuen”

  1. Stephen Page (eudaimonia) Says:

    This is a well-written review. As I browse through I browse through your blog, I find myself quite impressed with the writing level.

  2. Steve Bank Says:

    Thank you…..my HS English teachers would be proud. Only started writing reviews in my second career, working as a part timer in the Wake County Library System.

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