Reviewed by Jessi Buchmann

The premise of 12.21 should be familiar to most as we are quickly approaching the end of 2012. Doomsayers have been touting the end of the Mayan Calendar (12/21/2012) as the end of the world for decades. This book doesn’t focus on the theory behind the end of the Mayan calendar but more on the ideas of how society may end as a whole.

12.21 opens ten days before ‘the end’ to Dr. Gabriel Stanton, a modest doctor with a daily routine, an ex-wife and a loyal dog. Dr. Stanton however is no average doctor; he’s the foremost researcher for The Center of Disease Control’s Prion Center. Variant Fatal Insomnia (VFI) is his primary study; it is a virus that initially spreads through tainted meat and causes the infected to lose motor function, experience terrible insomnia, uncontrollable thirst and fits of rage. The prognosis is always death.

Dr. Chel Manu is a leading Maya Studies researcher with ties to Kiaquix tribe and the Mayan culture. Her path crosses a mysterious codex believed to be the earliest known Mayan artifact that holds the key to the demise of the Mayan civilization. When the two doctors’ paths cross it’s because of an outbreak of VFI; it’s up to them to determine the source of the outbreak via the codex and ultimately save civilization before it’s too late.

I enjoyed this potentially real sci-fi thriller and would call the writing Crichton-esque. Thomason paints a vivid picture in your mind that makes you feel like you are immersed in the action. The book is fast paced and edifying and draws parallels to the historical end. The details described regarding the codex seem well researched and the characters are strongly developed. My one point of contention with this book is that at the end, it is fairly predictable and wraps up too quickly. You feel left holding the bag where the real writing ends as if Thomason was given a mandate to write an ending within 24 hours, or else.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jessi Buchmann lives in Beaverton, Oregon and works as a Project Manager. When she is not reading she can be found: writing, painting or wreaking havoc on her house doing home repairs.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Dial Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.