“Changer” by first-time novelist Matt Gemmell is a thriller about a top secret project called Destiny that was initiated by the European Defense Agency and eventually seized by a billionaire industrialist, Anfruns, to be used for his own purposes. Unbeknownst to Anfruns, a psychotic killer in charge of his security, Merrick, — who has developed a super power — is taking over this project for himself.
As if this weren’t enough, a disaster is brewing that will wipe out half of Europe if it isn’t stopped in time.
The story centers around physicist Neil Aldridge, who discovers he too has the power that Merrick has. And when Merrick’s team tries to capture Aldridge, he’s intercepted by a secret special forces team who goes by the code name, KESTREL. The two sides race to stop the disaster while Aldridge, Merrick and their respective teams head towards a final confrontation.
If all that sounds a bit convoluted, well, it is, but Matt does a terrific job of keeping the story in check and keeping the reader glued to the page.
If you like thrillers, I think you’ll find this a solid first attempt. It’s very fast paced and tough to put down.
One problem I normally have with novels that unfold at this pace is you don’t get much time with the characters; they’re often secondary to the plot, and this is somewhat the case here, although it may not be much of an issue going forward since this is the first book in the KESTREL series so we’ll likely get more time in the next book to get to know the characters.
If there is one flaw it’s that the main villain and our protagonist are too powerful and I never felt the people I was supposed to care about were ever in any real danger.
Still, I recommend this book. It grabs you from the get-go and takes you on a thrilling ride to the end where you’ll close it and think, “Man, I can’t wait for the next one.”