Adventurer R.J. MacCready to Return in Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch’s ‘The Darwin Strain’

It’s pretty rare that an author is compared to the legendary Michael Crichton, and it’s even rarer for that comparison to hold water.

But for Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch, co-authors of the brilliantly developed R.J. MacCready series, that comparison is spot-on, and Hollywood heavyweight James Cameron (who has directed two of the highest-grossing films of all time) is among those who agree. 

A vertebrate zoologist and professor of biology, Schutt’s knowledge and experience bring authenticity to MacCready, who is also a zoologist. So too do the skills and understanding of Finch, the pen name of a New York-based painter, history buff, and cave explorer, which mirrors the duo’s protagonist who, over two books, has shown a tendency for embarking on multiple Indiana Jones-like adventures.

First introduced in Hell’s Gate (2016), MacCready returned in The Himalayan Codex (2017). Both books were well-received by readers and critics, and MacCready is now gearing up for his next adventure in The Darwin Strain, scheduled to come out next March. Check out the cover art and plot details below! 


The Darwin StrainThe authors of Hell’s Gate and The Himalayan Codex deliver their third high-octane thriller—a page-turning blend of science, history, and suspense featuring zoologist and adventurer Captain R. J. MacCready.

“Looks like Schutt and Finch are filling the void left by the passing of Michael Crichton.”—James Cameron, director/writer/explorer

Though the fighting has stopped and Hitler is vanquished, a dangerous new war between America and the Soviet Union has begun. Invaluable in defeating the Nazis, accidental crypto-zoologist R. J. MacCready and Yanni Thorne, an indigenous Brazilian and expert in animal behavior, are working for the Pentagon once again. Sent to a mysterious Greek island in a remote corner of the Mediterranean, they are investigating rumors about a volcanic spring with “miraculous” healing properties that the locals say is guarded by sea monsters from ancient legends.

The islanders believe that, like Fatima, the spring is a gift from God. To the Greek Orthodox Church, it is a sign of a deadly evil foretold in apocalyptic texts. Alongside French and Chinese researchers—men who share their strange, blood-stained past—Mac and Yanni discover that the volcanic spring’s undersea plumes release an exotic microbe that can transform life with astonishing speed.

To find the source of the Volcanic spring, Mac and Yanni must find a way to neutralize “the Dragons of Revelation”—a fearsome aquatic species also known as “Kraken,” which are preventing the scientists from exploring deep beneath the sea’s surface. Mutating at an astonishing pace, the Kraken have evolved into a chillingly high alien intelligence. As the race to possess the “miracle” microbe heats up, tensions between geopolitics, religion, and ordinary scientists confronted with the unknown escalate into chaos. Mac and Yanni know all too well that one wrong choice can easily set in motion a biological chain reaction that will reach across the decades to enhance—or destroy—everything that lives.


If you’re a fan of Crichton, James Rollins, or Preston & Child, you will love this series. Though it won’t hit store shelves until March 26, 2019, The Darwin Strain is currently available for pre-order wherever books are sold. 


Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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