In my review of Lincoln Child's last novel, Deep Storm
, I described it as "a set of cliches strung together into a very straight forward, linear plot". The same could easily be said of his latest solo effort, Terminal Freeze. If you created a combination of 'The Thing [DVD] [1982
]' (arctic setting, scientists, isolated outpost) and 'Alien [DVD] [1979
]' (monster hunting people in the dark) or even Aliens  [DVD
] (military against big nasty monsters) and any of the numerous films where a TV crew accidentally wanders into dangerous situation (e.g. Rec (Single Disc Edition) [DVD] [2007
]) you'd come out with something along the lines of this book. It is a wholly derivative sum of various parts.
Another line from my 'Deep Storm' review also holds true for 'Terminal Freeze'; "Characters are barely sketched. There's no emotional resonance. There are no real twists, turns or blind alleys. Questions are answered and problems are solved quickly and without any apparent effort". Once again Child has created a book that is all about the plot and the rush. No character gets more than a cursory background sketch and some don't even warrant that. Its also so easy to spot those that are destined to die they might as well have 'dead meat' in brackets after their names.
Despite these significant weaknesses however, 'Terminal Freeze' is an enjoyable enough read. Child keeps proceedings moving at a pretty fast pace and once the monster is on the loose and the bodies are piling up it becomes quite difficult to put down. There's also enough of a veneer of science and pseudo-science to lend events a measure of plausibility. As an entirely disposable 'beach book' its perfectly acceptable.
I just wish that Lincoln Child would concentrate his efforts on coming up with something that is more than just 'acceptable'. His co-authored works with Douglas Preston prove that he's a thriller writer of talent and the structure and pace of his solo efforts is very good. If only he could come up with plots that didn't feel like rehashes of other, superior sources.