James Rollins/David Morrell

Three murders in far-flung locales are the starting point for novelist James Rollins’s newest title, The Doomsday Key. The deaths of a geneticist at Princeton, a U.S. senator’s son in an African Red Cross camp and an archaeologist in Rome would seem to be unrelated, except for this — each victim had a Druidic pagan cross burned onto his body. When Commander Gray Pierce and the elite Sigma Force are called into service to discover what connects the killings, they find that an ancient talisman called the Doomsday Key is at the center of the puzzle.

Rollins, who has a background in evolutionary biology, often sprinkles seeds of truth into his stories, and The Doomsday Key is no different. The plot features the Club of Rome, a real-life think tank that holds that overpopulation will cause the collapse of civilization. “How soon will we reach that point?” Rollins asks in press materials. “You only have to watch the recent food riots around the world to know we’re at that brink already. Can it be stopped? Or are we too late? In The Doomsday Key, I offer a solution if we’re brave enough to face it.”

Appearing with Rollins is David Morrell, considered the father of the modern action novel. He’ll be reading from his new work, The Shimmer, a thriller set in a fictional Texas town similar to Marfa. 6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free.

James Rollins also appears at the Houston Public Library, as part of their An Afternoon with… reading and discussion series on Wednesday. Noon. 500 McKinney. For information, call 832-393-1313 or visit www.houstonlibrary.org. Free.
Tue., July 14, 6:30 p.m., 2009

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Olivia Flores Alvarez