Michael C. Grumley
Catalyst is the third book in the charmingly engrossing Breakthrough light sci-fi/adventure series, about a team of scientists who have learned the secret of communication with certain animals, and the world-changing discoveries that follow. It’s nearly six years since I read the first two books, and while I remember the main characters, including amiable and remarkably helpful dolphins Sally and Dirk, quite well, I was a bit vague about the exact plot – including the particularly out-there aspects (no spoilers) so probably should’ve reread them both first – but who has the time? There was just about enough recap to not feel lost, but I definitely do recommend reading this series in order.
Marine biologist Alison Shaw is still working with Dirk & Sally in Puerto Rico, but the team are recovering from their dangerous trip to South America, and DeeAnn, traumatised by those events, is preparing to take young gorilla Dulce away. Then Steve Caesare is ordered to go back and retrieve Dexter, the super intelligent capuchin monkey they discovered in the jungle, John Clay is sent to China to find whatever the Chinese got away with, and Alison discovers a potentially life-saving phenomenon. As the heroes undertake their separate missions, powerful international factions are also closing in, desperate to claim the secrets for themselves – and prevent anyone else from benefiting – at any cost.
This was my favourite of the series so far – I love the mixture of science, action, suspense and geopolitics – and who doesn’t adore dolphins! I do remember the previous books being completely improbable, but this one keeps the technological aspects more believable. I like all the main characters and appreciate the author keeping the romance elements to a minimum. There were some pretty sad bits – don’t worry, no dolphins die or are harmed, but not all the good guys survive and there are some animal deaths 😿 The ending leaves things wide open (but no cliffhangers) for the next book, Ripple, which I intend to read soon before I forget too much again!