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Intent on saving humanity from itself, Darnell Price is presented with an outrageous and daring offer by a brilliant scientist. Believing history will view him as a courageous savior, Price accepts the offer and sets in motion a ghastly plot.

When young men on the Warm Springs Reservation in Central Oregon are stricken with an unidentified disease that leaves them sterile, Peter Savage is called to aid in the investigation. As the inquiry starts to gain momentum, Peter is kidnapped by hardened mercenaries aided by crooked cops. Following a daring escape and a shootout at an illicit drug lab in the remote high desert of Oregon, Peter finds himself face to face with a demon from his past: an adversary who has seemingly risen from the grave.

As the minutes count down to a biological holocaust, Peter presents the only chance to save an unwitting civilian population. With his trusted canine companion Diesel by his side, along with a former-assassin-turned-ally, Peter must gamble far more than his own life… and the odds have never been so long.

The Big Thrill spent some time with USA Today bestselling author Dave Edlund discussing the origins of his latest Peter Savage thriller, LETHAL SAVAGE:

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

The Peter Savage novels bring science into play, and the science is real. I’m not suggesting this is new, but it is not always present in contemporary thrillers. My goal is to place the plot on a solid foundation of science and engineering. This is carried into even small details, such as firearms and ballistics.

What can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

The antagonist has used gene editing methods (Crispr CAS 9) to create a previously unknown virus. It is stable in water and renders infected males sterile. If the virus were to escape and cause mass sterilization, the ripples could lead to the demise of humans as a species. This is the insidious threat at play in LETHAL SAVAGE.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

LETHAL SAVAGE attempts to use entertaining fiction to address a serious issue—overpopulation and excessive consumption of Earth’s resources. Subtly raising awareness of this global issue is a huge opportunity. But the novel must be entertaining first and foremost.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

LETHAL SAVAGE continues the exploits of Peter Savage, a protagonist with a growing fan base. Almost the entire novel is based in Oregon, a rather unusual setting for a contemporary thriller but one I think readers will find refreshing and interesting. The plot uses genetic engineering—a new but very powerful tool—to create a totally new disease. This is a serious and terrifying threat that was science fiction merely a few years ago.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

The plot took shape first, followed by setting and then characters. I always begin with a clear idea for the plot, and a firm beginning. As the manuscript takes shape, additional plot details are developed.

Why is Peter Savage, an ordinary person, apparently so popular with readers?

I think the answer might be exactly because he is ordinary. It allows everyone to relate at some level. Also, Peter is driven by strong convictions of loyalty, respect, and honor. These are attributes often associated with our heroes, and I think this also makes the character likeable.


USA Today bestselling author Dave Edlund is the award-winning creator of the high-octane Peter Savage novels, which include Crossing Savage, Relentless Savage, Deadly Savage, Hunting Savage, and Guarding Savage.

A member of the International Thriller Writers, Dave’s action-political thrillers are often compared to the Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler, the Sigma Series novels by James Rollins, the Jack Ryan novels by Tom Clancy, and the international thrillers of Steve Berry.
When Dave isn’t cooking up the latest adventure for Peter Savage, readers can find him working as a leading expert in hydrogen energy. He is an inventor with 100 US patents and more than 250 foreign patents. He has published in excess of 100 technical articles and presentations and has been an invited author of several technical books on alternative energy. Dave is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a doctoral degree in chemistry.

An avid outdoorsman and shooter, he’s hunted throughout North America for big game ranging from wild boar to moose to bear. Dave is a long-time resident of Bend, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, son, and two dogs (Lucy Liu and Tenshi).

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.