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Viral (Soho Crime) Paperback – February 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"Lilliefors' debut thriller doesn't slow down until the last page.... This one will keep you up at night." -Romantic Times (4 ½ star review)

"Lilliefors provides enough twists to keep the pages turning. He also manages to develop and humanize his characters including some of the villains." -Gumshoe Review

"[T]his cautionary tale can make your blood run cold.... Lilliefors is an author to watch." -Crimespace

"Delivers the goods. The international setting. The spies. The unscrupulous, powerful bad guy(s). A sprinkle of romance, a spine shuddering genetically engineered disease, and a mystery that kept me guessing into the final pages." -Poptimal

"[T]echnologically modernizes Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal." -The Mystery Gazette

“An ambitious thriller; its villains, no ordinary terrorists, are determined to create a new world (even if it means wiping out a large portion of its population). Solidly plotted and featuring a unique pair of protagonists—you don’t often find a team of brothers as action heroes—the book is sure to appeal to fans of thrillers with Big Ideas and capital-V villains. A sequel is in the works, which is a good thing: readers will leave the book wanting to see more of Charles and Jon.” —Booklist

“Fans of intelligently written page-turners will be rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly

“Software billionaires, media moguls, government henchmen, and a beautiful bio-chem warfare expert enter and exit the story in a whirl of action with all of it leading to a suspenseful race to stop a crime, the magnitude of which is off the scale.” —Suspense Magazine

Viral is a world-class thriller. It doesn’t get any more real than this. Lilliefors has created one of the most compelling novels of international espionage I’ve come across in a long time.”—Vince Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A crackling good story, so realistic that it's scary. Lilliefors is right up there with the best thriller writers.”—Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award–winning author of the Grand Tour series.
“Viral weaves genetics, nanotechnology and robotics into a complex tapestry of international geopolitics and nails the details. Lilliefors' debut is brilliant, with realistic science, tight pacing, and believable characters in a gripping story of the audacity of dehumanized science.”—Jeffrey Anderson, MD PhD, international bestselling author of Sleeper Cell and Implant
“James Lilliefors, a brand new thriller writer on the scene, has opened with a bang with his first novel, Viral.   With the Mallory brothers, Charles and Jon, the insanity that Jim has brilliantly portrayed becomes all too sharply urgent, and certainly timely.  Hats off!”—David Hagberg, New York Times bestelling author of The Expediter
Viral is a great read that made me wonder if the author has a secret past life in the dark world of intelligence.... Lilliefors' powerful novel could be both a prediction and a warning of tomorrow's headlines.”—Wes DeMott, former FBI agent, author of The Fund, Heat Sync, and Walking K
“An adrenaline-pumping tale of terror that simmers with intrigue and tension. From the very first page, Lilliefors masterfully takes us on a nail-biting journey into the terrifying world of bioterrorism.”—Gary Birken, MD, author of Embolus and Code 15

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

James Lilliefors is an award-winning journalist and former newspaper editor who has written for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, The Miami Herald and elsewhere. He was raised in the Washington, D.C. area and studied at the University of Iowa and the University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns Fiction Writing Fellow. He currently lives in Florida and is at work on the follow-up to Viral.


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Product Details

  • Series: Soho Crime
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952198
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,795,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Paul F. Memoli on May 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is my second review for VIRAL. The first was yanked because I used a famous author's name in vain..... But I feel strongly enough about this to try it again.

Most of the reviews of this book here on Amazon focus on giving a plot summary. I can do that too... a group of scientists backed by Big Pharma and some Black ops type guys decide to use a weaponized flu virus to depopulate parts of Africa. The new virus is so lethel that an entire city can be reduced to corpses in a few hours. A covert organization working in tandem with the flu researchers is buying up all the now uninhabited land. The aim is one man's vision of a modern utopia.

There are a lot of characters: 2 primary ones. Charles Mallory - who is in the information business and has ties with the CIA and FBI, and his brother Jon, a journalist.

Now this is where I differ from the other reviews.... the plot - while not entirely new - is believable... the way the main characters operate is absurd. Charles Malloy inherited a paper from his father (former CIA) in which his father voiced his suspicions about a genocial project that was getting underway in Africa. His hope was that Charles would follow it up and try to prevent a holocaust. Charles decides to recruit his younger brother Jon, but instead of just meeting in person with Jon and explaining what he knew and what he suspected he feeds his brother cryptograms and cyphers that, if decoded accurately, will lead Jon the journalist to some of the people responsible and also lead Jon to some of the remote African villages where the weaponized virus was already tested.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First Line: Cloud shadows carpeted the African countryside as a privately owned matatu rattled along the dusty lorrie route toward the capital.

In remote, impoverished areas of Africa, a deadly virus is moving through farming villages and shanty towns like a well-honed scythe leaving no survivors. The vaguest of rumors about this swirl through the rest of the world. Only a former CIA operative, Charles Mallory , with the help of his brother, investigative reporter Jon, seem able to put the clues together to learn that someone is putting plans into motion-- plans to create a new, technologically advanced society. Will the brothers be able to stop a bold and terrifying "humane depopulation" before it goes any further?

This book is not your typical thriller; there's a lot to digest in its pages. In a very real way, it's a two-pronged cautionary tale: telling us of what may happen if we keep ignoring the Third World, and of what obscenely wealthy people think they're entitled to do-- all in the name of "good". At its best, this cautionary tale can make your blood run cold.

But as a thriller, it doesn't quite run like a well-tuned machine. The cast of characters is too large, and they're scattered all over the place. It's difficult to get a fix on any of them and care what happens to them.

Of the two main characters, younger brother, Jon, is the more sympathetic. Jon hasn't really had any contact with his brother Charles in years, but Charles suddenly begins sending him riddles obliquely referring to their childhood that Jon is expected to decipher. Since his life depends on his decoding speed, it's good that Jon's up to the task. The scenes with Jon in Africa are particularly chilling and heartbreaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Every thriller set in Africa must, it seems, include in its cast a tough-minded female doctor doing humanitarian work. In Viral, that role is played by Sandra Oku. She watches dozens of villagers die during the course of a morning, victims of a mysterious and fast-acting respiratory disease. As the disease spreads through the village and to surrounding farms, Sandra realizes that this is the threat of which her cousin, the journalist Paul Bahdru, had warned her, albeit in vague terms. Days after that conversation, Bahdru is scheduled to meet with private intelligence analyst Charles Mallory. As Charles waits for Bahdru to appear, a package is delivered to Charles containing Bahdru's head. When Charles fails to keep a telephonic appointment with his brother Jon (having hinted that he will provide Jon with a big story for Jon's weekly news publication), Jon goes to Africa in search of Charles, who in turn wants Jon to be witness to a tragic story that needs to be told. Another witness is, of course, Sandra Oku. There weren't supposed to be any witnesses, she tells Jon, so it isn't surprising when witnesses start to die.

And so the stage is set for the reader to guess at the exact nature of the threat -- a revelation that comes a little more than halfway through -- and to guess how Jon and Charles will defeat the bad guys. They are the main characters; Sandra and many other characters weave in and out of the story's fabric but play secondary parts. This isn't a medical thriller; we hear some familiar information about how a virus might be created and defeated, but the focus is on the two brothers, not on doctors or microbiologists.

Much of the story has a familiar feel.
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Viral (Soho Crime)
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