Cold Storage

After 16 "kills" (nuclear/bioweapons programs neutralized), Defense Nuclear Agency team Roberto Diaz and Trini Romano think they've seen it all. Then, in 1987, they encounter Cordyceps novus, a fungus more pernicious, adaptive and threatening than anything they've ever seen. The government destroys all but a small sample, which it buries safely in cold storage in the Atchison mines, "sealed inside a biotube three hundred feet underground in a sub-basement that didn't officially exist."

Thirty years later, the former government space has been turned into Atchison Storage. One night, employees Travis "Teacake" Meacham (an oddly charming ex-con) and Naomi Williams (a single mom working her way through veterinary school) hear beeping behind a wall, which leads them to the discovery of hidden subbasements and a government vault with an odd fungus spreading across the floor.

After three decades, nobody but Roberto and Trini remembers the deadly fungal threat, so when Teacake and Naomi call the military, Roberto is summoned out of retirement for what his superiors think is an unnecessary assessment. Enacting a secret contingency plan, Roberto goes off grid and races the clock--and the newly awoken fungus--to keep it from spreading. The threat is real: if he fails, it will "[bring] about a Sixth Extinction, a mass die-off" of all life on Earth, and he'll do anything to stop it.

Cold Storage is the debut novel by screenwriter and director David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Panic Room), and his riveting combination of distinctive characters, thrilling pace and deadly threat make it a fun ride. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor

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