From Publishers Weekly
The subtitle of this middling medical thriller overstates its case; readers expecting an epidemic on the scale of The Hot Zone will be disappointed by the body count here, but the sheer variety of germs may appease virus fans. When several children die of mysterious but virulent diseases and no one, not even the CDC, considers the matter seriously, beautiful and brilliant Dr. Annick Clement investigates with the help of senior fellow Mac Eastwick, her thinly sketched love interest. Before long, Annick begins to suspect that a bioterrorist may be orchestrating the unusual deaths, but she needs more evidence to prove her theory. Birken's second novel (after Final Diagnosis) reflects his obvious medical expertise, but the often clunky prose and too-literal descriptions hamper the story ("Mac glanced over, noticed a small stool and took a seat. `I'll just grab a seat over here,' he said, more to himself than Annick"). All of the characters are underdeveloped, and the relationship between Annick and Mac is so hasty it's possible to miss it until they wake up together halfway through the book. Once the FBI gets involved, the action heats up. Ultimately, however, diehard biothriller fans will be disappointed by Birken's tired take on a timely but familiar topic.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.