Friday, June 18, 2010

Biological Warfare

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

The Influenza Bomb
By Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, MD

Imagine a flu virus so virulent that half the people exposed die from it. Now imagine that it was engineered by the Nazis. An imagine that a terrorist group has released it. If you read The Influenza Bomb you won’t have to imagine those things. They are essential components of the scenario created by the authors. They also throw in bureaucratic inefficiency, conspiracy theorists and a little romance. With all these things going on, you’ll keep reading just to make sure it all works out. Otherwise you’ll start wearing a surgical mask and avoiding everyone who coughs.

Because the story is about a global event there are several groups of people you will have to get to know. TSI is a group of scientists who find solutions to present day pandemics by researching historical ones. It includes Mark and Nora who have a potential, but complicated, romantic relationship. There is also a female doctor who works for the World Health Organization and an Interpol detective. On the other side are several people who are somehow involved with the terrorist group. As if that weren’t complicated enough, periodic chapters take us back in time to the original virus. It’s complex, but well done and you will find you need all the information provided to follow the story.

This book is a “what if” that is realistic enough to be scary. It makes the avian flu and H1N1 viruses look benign. It’s a large story, but the main characters are sympathetic and likeable. I liked them and wanted them to not only save the world, but also succeed in their personal lives. If you’re in the mood for a global action/mystery/crime story, give it a try.

Pros: Intriguing premise with good characters with pure motives. It provides some history in the midst of a present day international crime drama.

Cons: There are a lot of important characters to follow and the book jumps from present to past a lot. Can be a bit disjointed.

About the book

Masses of people are dying from a mysterious flu. While the TSI team searches for a cure, a notorious eco-terrorist group,Return to Earth, uses an influenza bomb to poison the water. It’s a race against time—with the outcome impacting the entire world.

By the time the team discovers that the terrorists are using the water supply to infect people, the sickness is spreading worldwide and no one has a cure. When Return to Earth makes off with a mysterious device called the influenza bomb with the intent to destroy all of mankind, Dr. Hutchinson must stop the contamination from being spread before it’s too late.

About the authors

Paul McCusker is the Peabody Award–winning writer and director of the audio drama Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom and of the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and his original series The Luke Reports (just nominated for the Audie Awards’ Best Audio Drama) and The Father Gilbert Mysteries (also nominated for the Audie Awards’ best production award).

He is also a writer and director for the long-running children’s program Adventures in Odyssey, writing not only over 250 audio episodes, but also scripting two of the animated video series and eighteen spin-off novels. For adults, McCusker has written the Gold Medallion–nominated Epiphany, The Mill House, and A Season of Shadows. His plays and musicals have been performed in community theatres across the country—one, A Time for Christmas, was a Dove Award nominee. McCusker currently has over thirty books in print, including the TSI series he is co-authoring with Walt Larimore, MD. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Walter L. Larimore, MD, has been called one of "America's best-known family physicians" and listed in “Distinguished Physicians of America,” “The Best Doctors in America,” and “Who’s Who in America.” As an award-winning writer, he was awarded the 2004 Christianity Today Book Award for co-writing Going Public with Your Faith: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work. He has been a Gold Medallion Book Award finalist three times—for the Going Public book and small-group video series, as well as his book The Highly Healthy Child. He also authored the popular Bryson City Tales books and co-authored the TSI series with Paul McCusker. He lives in Monument, Colorado.

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