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IMMORTAL RED is a completed adult science thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton. It mates a front-page scientific fact (the remarkable and eternal turritopsis dohrnii) while creating the scientific justification necessary to suspend disbelief.

"A diverting tale of murder, espionage, and the possibility of living forever." KIRKUS REVIEWS

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/keith-hummel/immortal-red/


A Warm Summer Day

The Shallows

Cape Fear North Carolina

Immortality, the greatest gift, or curse, of all time, has been fantasized about and sought since humans first became cognizant of the fleeting nature of life. It is ironic that Nature, by cruel joke or a simple quirk of evolution, should present this gift to a creature lacking the capacity to appreciate it.

In late June 2000, Dr. Karen Spencer, a marine biologist, snorkeling off the coast of North Carolina observes a colony of Turritopsis dohrnii. This jellyfish, when confronted with death from massive trauma or old age, appears to have the ability to repair all injury and become a young adult version of itself. Intrigued, Dr. Spencer takes a number of specimens to her lab where she observes their reaction to massive trauma or old age. The result is always the same: after a period of quiescence, the organism rejoins the colony as a perfect young adult. After recording over a hundred deaths and rebirths, Dr. Spencer nicknames the little invertebrate, Immortal Red.


With research money short, Karen’s husband, Ted, a CIA psychologist, approaches Basil, his aging boss who is the director of the Agency’s black-ops ’problem-solving’ division. Funding for further research is secured, but the study is plagued by failures, including a catastrophic event on the eve of 9/11. An accident involving the family dog provides a breakthrough and suggests the potential for human application. Ted, eager to please his boss, informs Basil Orlov of the breakthrough. Karen learns that Basil intends to use the science to establish a plutocracy of immortals with himself at the helm. Horrified, she alters the research documents to suggest failure, while stashing the actual data.

A scant three months later, Karen’s daughter, Chloe (later known as Lucy), is on the run with her mother’s research journal, pursued by Basil Orlov and the full resources of the CIA. Her only hope for survival rests with the assassin sent to kill her and an aging veteran marine café owner.


“If Brooks Brothers sold assassins . . .” Nick Caedwallan, PhD in Ancient History and Archaeology, has his own history. He is also the go-to guy for what the CIA jokingly refers to as the PDB or Plausible Deniability Department, resolving problems the rest of the clandestine services find too hot to handle. In the words of his octogenarian boss, "He is a man of many talents. He can bury you and years later, he can dig you up and examine you. In his case, Ph.D. does truly mean piled higher and deeper."

Thomas Whitefeather, an aging marine veteran and café owner, has a secret. He is the last of the Cape Fear Indians. The thing is—the Cape Fear Indian tribe disappeared over two hundred years ago.

Chloe Spencer lived with one goal in mind—her PhD in Anthropology. In a single day, she went from graduate student to terrorist suspect. She is now on the run with her mother’s leather research journal, a large squarish key that unlocks God knows what, and a surprisingly energetic fifteen-year-old Springer Spaniel.