The Silk Code by Paul Levinson
The Silk CodeDetective Phil D’Amato is a forensics scientist for the New York Police Department in the near future. A mummified body has been found at the Museum of Natural History. When an autopsy is performed, odd questions arise. The body appears to be Neandrathal. The carbon dating on the bones shows them to be 30,000 years old. Yet the fabric on the body is current, from the past few years. Also, a blue silk handkerchief is found on it as well. Similar bodies have been discovered in London and Toronto.
D’Amato finds himself involved in a biotech genetics mystery. This battle is not fought in the scientists’ labs, but in natural settings, like the Amish country where he has friends. Amos Stoltzfus and John Lapp are able to live their natural life with amazing biotechnological changes that don’t challenge their faith or lifestyle.
Stefan Antonescu also appears to know something. He has worked at the Museum of Natural History for years, and the body found was first identified as his. He has the Neandrathal look, with the protruding forehead and the unusual stature. Antonescu, Stoltzfus, and Lapp help D’Amato and his London counterpart as they attempt to discover what has happened.
The modern day mystery in this novel is excellent. Before I had finished I had recommended it to two other people I knew would like it. The story is well done based on current possibilities with genetics manipulation. The science involved uses crossbreeding and specialized breeding to produce the desired results. In the first section, when D’Amato is visiting Pennsylvania Amish country, lightening bugs have to developed to create non-electrical lighting and even explosives. This is only one example of the outcomes they have managed.
Unfortunately, the second section of the book, which is a prehistory story of Cro-Mangon men and Neandrathal men, tended to be too long and drag some. Once the reader is past that, the rest of the story is tight and riveting. This is one I don’t hesitate to recommend.