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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
John Casey's Evolution is an espionage thriller that begins in Boston. Michael Dolan is an assistant professor at Boston University and a taekwondo instructor. He is rebuilding his life after very nearly losing it two years ago gathering intelligence for the CIA and successfully preventing a terrorist attack in Germany. He still struggles with terrible memories from that mission. His peaceful and comfortable life in Boston is abruptly upended when the CIA hires him as an agent. Fear is growing of more widespread attacks after terrorists contaminate the public water supply in the Middle East with a novel and lethal strain of the Marburg virus. After receiving extensive counterintelligence and espionage training, Dolan flies to Germany as a member of Operation Clearcut. The story's pace, action, and tension escalate when the operation turns and twists suddenly and unexpectedly. Dolan becomes the key to stopping a catastrophic global bioterrorist act.
I particularly enjoyed reading John Casey's Evolution because of its complex principal character, Michael Dolan. I appreciated the story's gradual revelation of Dolan's character, his independent thinking, his ability to think outside the box, and his keen observation of small, seemingly unimportant details. I particularly liked how his inner personal struggles and haunting memories surface, inextricably linked to his first CIA mission in Germany. I could feel the tension in the story rise palpably when at the most critical moment in the current mission, Dolan must fight a battle within himself in parallel in coming to terms with his past. The sophisticated communications, surveillance, and tracking system used in the mission made the thriller even more exciting, adding to the suspense. I also liked the inclusion of a CIA agent in the story who is also a psychologist! A complex and multifaceted, chilling spy story of bioterrorism headlined by a remarkable and courageous protagonist!