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The Third Instinct: Dan Clifford #2    by Kent Lester order for
Third Instinct
by Kent Lester
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kent Lester's The Third Instinct follows The Seventh Sun as his second over the top, near future thriller featuring prediction scientist Dan Clifford and fearless marine biologist Rachel Sullivan. In the first episode they foiled a worldwide extinction event, and of course they do something equally notable this time around.

The story opens on the 'perfect heist'. Then readers catch up with prediction scientist Dan Clifford, whose career has been on hold during the pandemic, and whose girlfriend, Rachel Sullivan, is an adrenaline junkie - she has a strong chance of an early death. Dan is called to a meeting with Vince Peretti at FBI Headquarters. The meeting includes someone from CDC and Barrett Hudlow from Homeland Security's Counterterrorism Unit. It's clear that the latter and Dan will not get along.

Vince tells Dan that they have been tracking the Firemen (biohackers), led by the self-styled Chemerra. There's chatter about a major upcoming operation. They want Dan and his brilliant hacker friend Rudi Plimpton to infiltrate the group in Savannah. They gradually do this, but then discover that nothing is what it seems and that another shadowy group (Horsemen) is in play. There are betrayals on all sides and action in spades before it is all over. Complicating matters, Rachel gets very bad news that leads her to escalate her risk taking.

Suspense builds to an explosive climax in which our heroes once again prevents (at the very last minute, naturally) the villains from unleashing total devastation on an unsuspecting world.

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