From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Follett sets his sights on biological terrorism, pumping old-school adrenaline into this new breed of thriller. Ex-policewoman Antonia "Toni" Gallo, head of security at a boutique pharmaceuticals company, has discovered that two doses of an experimental drug—developed as a potential cure for the deadly Madoba-2 virus—have vanished from her top-secret laboratory. This mystery is a precursor to a more serious crime being planned by Kit Oxenford, the gambling-addicted son of the company's founder, Stanley Oxenford. Kit, deeply in debt to mobster Harry Mac, sees a raid on his father's lab as a chance to score enough money to disappear and start anew in another country. Some characters are a bit familiar—the pesky, unprincipled journalist; the imbecilic police detective—but others, the mobster's psychopathic daughter in particular, show idiosyncratic originality. After a long buildup, the burglary is set in motion, and Kit's best-laid plans begin to fall apart. Eventually, good guys and bad guys end up at the Oxenford family estate, trapped in the house by a fierce snowstorm as they battle one another over the material stolen from the laboratory. A romance between the recently widowed Stanley and Toni and the unexpected addition of Toni's comically addled mother thicken the plot as Follett's agonizingly protracted, nail-biter ending drags readers to the very edge of their seats and holds them captive until the last villain is satisfactorily dispatched.
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Follett's latest is a bio-thriller taking place over a wintry Christmas holiday in northern Scotland and well larded with family drama. Toni Gallo is the driven head of security for Oxenford Medical (aka the Kremlin), a research facility working on a cure for Madoba-2, an especially virulent strain of Ebola. She also has a running feud with her ex, a local cop, and is pestered by the attentions of newsman Carl. But she really wants to be with her widower boss, Stanley, whose daughter Olga's husband, Hugo, is paying unwelcome attention to his sister-in-law, Miranda, herself in uneasy love with a milquetoast boyfriend, Ned, whose daughter, Sophie, is the object of young Craig's budding affections. It is not until midnight on Christmas Eve that all this soap is rinsed away, and the plot kicks into high gear, as a band of desperate, violent thieves, led by Stanley's wastrel son, Kit, lay siege to the well-defended Kremlin in the midst of a terrible blizzard. Predictably, things go suddenly, frightfully wrong. From here on out, Follett's sure hand at the controls of a high-octane plot delivers the expected thrills in expected ways. Expect interest from readers who know what to expect. David WrightCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved