Kirkus Reviews
IMMORTAL RED by Keith Hummel
A diverting tale of murder, espionage, and the possibility of living forever. Kirkus Reviews


A private U.S. security firm that handles black-ops contracts hunts a woman whose research may hold the key to immortality in Hummel’s debut thriller. In the early 2000s, Dr. Karen Spencer is studying the Turritopsis dohrnii in North Carolina. These dime-sized, red-stomached jellyfish defy death by transforming themselves into young adults in lieu of succumbing to old age or trauma. She and her CIA psychologist husband, Ted, work with Basil Orlov, who oversees the agency’s black ops. While Karen is interested in the jellyfish’s healing aspects, Basil, it seems, wants to weaponize it as a neurotoxin. But it’s soon clear the 80-something Basil believes the jellyfish can provide eternal youth. Not trusting the man, Karen keeps mum about a significant development in her research. So Basil, who later freelances with his own firm, ultimately targets the Spencers’ daughter, Chloe, after learning she has Karen’s research journal. Accordingly, Chloe hides under the alias Lucy but has help from her uncle, Don Bel Castro, and, eventually, Dr. Nick Caedwallan, both of whom are CIA employees. She’s also friends with Tommie Whitefeather, an American Indian who’s familiar with the jellyfish and considerably older than he appears. Unfortunately for Chloe, Basil is rapacious and has access to assassins. Though this narrative primarily entails Basil’s pursuit of Karen’s research, Nick garners the brightest spotlight. Along with his own 1985-set subplot (a CIA mission in Afghanistan), he faces the most conflict: He’s wracked with guilt over his involvement in two assassinations and battling inoperable lung cancer. A physician and former Navy flight surgeon, Hummel maintains a consistent momentum with short scenes and brief chapters, and his scientific elucidation of Turritopsis dohrnii should engage even readers unfamiliar with the terminology. The ending offers resolution but lets a few things linger, including the fates of at least two characters and romance between Nick and Chloe that remains mostly implied. Nevertheless, it’s prime material for a sequel, as this is the first installment of a planned series. Diverting tale of murder, espionage, and the possibility of living forever.

Richard A Carey
One of the more memorable student manuscripts that I saw during my time teaching in the SNHU MFA writing program was the novel Immortal Red, a crackling well written thriller by a guy who knows his stuff. Highly recommended.
This book is fantastic. The concept is intriguing; I was surprised to discover that this jellyfish really exists. I liked the strong female character in chapter one.
Marlene Walker
Who is Nick and why does Lucy have so many survival skills? Where is Tommie?How is this jellyfish really real and the world hasn't come to a morale end? Tell me everything, Hummel.