I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Warren Fahy is a big fan of Michael Crichton.
It's hard to work in the genre of speculative science-based thrillers these days without having to deal with the huge shadow that Crichton, and "Jurassic Park" in particular, cast over the entire field. There's even a similarity in the way Fahy structures his book, cutting from cast member to cast member, chapter to chapter, keeping things short and punchy. All that really means is that Fahy's book should seem familiar to summer beach readers, and it certainly deserves a spot in the shoulder bags of anyone who likes this sort of thing, as it delivers on an intriguing premise and proves to be a very quick and engaging read overall.
Henders Island is Fahy's big idea in the book, a small volcanic rim island in the middle of the Pacific that was isolated hundreds of thousands of years ago, at a point when evolution was at a particularly volatile crossroads. As a result of that isolation, life on Henders Island has developed along a totally different road from life everywhere else on the planet, making the island a window into what our world might have been if things had zigged instead of zagged. It's a fun set-up that gives Fahy (and his characters, who are basically mouthpieces designed to handle opposite ends of the arguments that Fahy wants to explore) room to wrestle with notions of how evolution really works, and why some characteristics have survived while others have vanished from the planet altogether.
[more after the jump]