The word “suspenseful” doesn’t begin to describe The Trudeau Vector, the first novel by Juris Jurjevics, cofounder of Soho Press. Three scientists are found dead above the Arctic Circle by a team of medics sent out to rescue them. The dead researchers’ pupils are missing, their bodies hideously contorted. Alex Kossuth, a fourth scientist who had gone out with the others to have a small going-away party for another scientist, Lidiya Tarakanova, is also soon found naked and frozen to death on the ice, seemingly free of the nerve gas-like symptoms that killed the others. Unfortunately for the sailors and officers of the Russian submarine that picked Tarakanova up, theirs is the same fate as the first three scientists’.
Jessie Hanley, an epidemiologist and divorced mother from the California Infectious Diseases Center, is summoned by the Canadian government to investigate. Their computers have selected her as the person with the best possibility of discovering the vector, or source, of whatever is killing the scientists at the remote Trudeau Research Station. Though she doesn’t want to leave her son, Joey, for six months (the weather won’t allow her to leave before then), she agrees to try. Little does she know that there are forces that would go to any lengths to prevent her from discovering the vector, forces that would like to harness the deadly power of whatever is killing the scientists.
The Trudeau Vector brought to mind several other books as I was reading it - Deception Point by Dan Brown first of all, because though the subject matter is different, both are set in cold climes and are very suspenseful. Also, the nonfiction books Lab 257 by Michael Christopher Carroll and Plague Times and The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston came to mind, since they all deal with deadly diseases caused by bacteria, microbes, and viruses. The Trudeau Vector is all the more intense and thought-provoking when you realize that, though you’re reading a novel, a similar scenario could very well happen in reality.
Juris Jurevics includes the perspectives of the Russian officers on the submarines, and he writes with great authority on the workings of subs and what life is like aboard them. Some of the officers, like Admiral Rudenko and Captain Nemerov, are presented in quite a favorable light and are likable characters. Others, such as Admiral Chernavin and Koyt, are more ruthless, letting nothing stand in the way of their objectives. Jurjevics doesn’t stereotype the Russians as being all, in the words of Ronald Reagan, forces of the “Dark Side.”
If you’re looking for a relentlessly suspenseful book that will keep your nights sleepless until you finish, The Trudeau Vector is for you. There’s action right up to the very end, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Jessie Hanley to discover the vector before even more deaths result. This book cries to be made into a movie; if that happens, it should be a blockbuster if it’s anywhere as good as the book. I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented author.