COLD STORAGE by David Koepp
There’s a lot of buzz behind Cold Storage. The author worked on several movie scripts, including Jurassic Park and Spider-Man, both films I enjoyed because of the fast-moving, fun-loving plots. I mean, getting chased by dinosaurs and supervillains is pretty cool.
I started the book while waiting on my son to finish a Spanish final at college. It was night and mostly quiet in the parking lot while I waited, and I flipped through the screens pretty quickly in the darkness, which is the best time of the day to read this kind of story. Especially when you’re alone in a car, claustrophobic, cold (I had to turn on the engine to warm the car every now and again), and with flitting shadows (students going to and from tests).
To me, the beginning lagged a little, dug too deeply into characters that I was sure were going to be thrown away pretty quickly—they were. Except I kept moving along, waiting to see what happened next.
Waiting to see what happens next should be the driving force of a suspense/horror story, and it is in this book.
I’m not a fan of a book that jumps around through the heads of various characters. I like a hero I can root for, one that’s interesting and has a big life. The characters in Cold Storage border on one-dimensional, but they feel real. I knew guys like Roberto, guys like Teacake, and women like Naomi. Sadly, I also know guys like Griffin who are just bad bosses.
The science in the story seems credible. I could keep up a little, but the whole world of fungi eludes me. The thing reminded me of an old DC Comics superhero, Metamorpho, the Element Man. And it was so well personified even though it wasn’t a person, that I felt threatened constantly.
The book not only jumps through various points of view, which should NOT work, but it jumps a significant amount of years too. It also wanders through the backstories of over a dozen characters that put in small cameos at times, and then aren’t heard from again. Or others that only serve a plot-device threat level.
Sure, there are other ways the information could have been revealed in the hands of Dean Koontz or Stephen King, but this book works on a visceral level: you have to keep your eye on the threat/villain/monster because if you don’t…it will get you!
The last 100 pages were relentless, and I wasn’t certain who was going to make it out alive.
Cold Storage is a B+ movie given prose life that works much better than it should.