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Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at Punktown through infected eyes, November 25, 2008
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This review is from: Health Agent (Hardcover)
What happens when you lose everything, even your own life? Health Agent Montgomery Black could tell you. Black works for HAP (Health Agency of Paxton) along with partner Opal Cowrie, agent Vern Woodmere (a Red War veteran), and Beak, an alien species called Enisku. The entire agency is busy tracking down all people infected with the brand new, deadly STD called Mutstav 670. M670 has a 100% fatality rate and is highly contagious, and until a cure is found all who are infected must be rounded up by HAP.

On a routine investigation of an artistic show being performed in an abandoned warehouse - once the site of a massive toxic spill - the four attend the latest showing of artist Toll Loveland's performance piece called Pandora's Box. During Loveland's show, he releases a flock of carnivorous moths ... all infected with M670. He also shows a video of the murder of Auretta Here, famous for her VT news spotlights about M670 victims (of which she is one) from her hidden location.

Agent Black is bitten, and immediately contracts the virus. Later that evening, he will unknowingly pass it on to Opal during sex. Loveland disappears, literally, from the show. Neither HAP nor the Forcers are able to discover how he escaped or his current whereabouts. Once its discovered that the moths contained the virus, Loveland becomes Paxton's most wanted man - for the slow murder of his audience. Black continues to investigate for awhile, until the virus incapacitates him and he loses his job. Black is dying.

At the brink of death, the cure is found, but Montgomery Black is not the same person, and he never will be again. He begins a new, reclusive life. Loveland's body is found, wasted away by M670, but Black believes Loveland is still alive. Only after meeting a beautiful, scarred actress named Mauve Pond does Black begin to feel life again, but can he pull himself back enough from the brink to follow his previous course of pursuing Loveland by finding all of Loveland's accomplices and traces?

'Health Agent' is truly a fantastic read. There's horror, suspenseful detective work, scifi, otherworldly surroundings, superb character development, and of course, Punktown (one of my absolute favorite places to visit). The story is fast-paced, riddled with many interesting characters(each clearly individual and fully fleshed out), and developing plot twists and changes that keep you reading long into the night. Jeffrey Thomas is one of my favorite authors. His style is flawless, his imagination is incredible, and his ability to paint his imagination into the form of the written word is utterly genius. His creation of Punktown (a fictional city on another planet, used in many other novels such as Everybody Scream!, Monstrocity, Deadstock, and Blue War) is brilliant; you can feel the mean streets beneath your feet, smell its crafty atmosphere, and fully visualize its teeming population - all without effort through Thomas's smoothly flowing prose and dialogues.

'Health Agent' is a welcome addition to Punktown, close to being my favorite so far. It combines the medical ickiness of a mysterious infection with the excitement of a well written detective novel. Don't miss out on this 10 star book! Enjoy!
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Reviewer

Schtinky
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: Washington State

Top Reviewer Ranking: 78,172