Top positive review
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Perfect Summer Read!!!!
on July 30, 2013
I suggested this book for my club thinking it would be a great beach book. It was exactly that. Fast-paced, easy reading, but still thought provoking. Definitely not "mind-candy." I devoured it with the same enthusiasm as last summer's book, "Gone Girl." In fact, I saw many parallels between the two, not least the illustration of the frightening amount of damage that one individual can inflict upon the lives of others. Fortunately for the vast majority of humanity who are not sociopaths, circumstances very rarely converge as they do for the antagonists of both of these novels, bestowing them with brilliance and insatiable neediness and immorality and blind ambition and vast amounts of idle time.
The novel begins with the grisly death of a seventeen-year-old girl in Manhattan. Cause of death is determined to be due to a pathogen of unknown origin. Similar deaths follow, which sets us on the course of a "bio-investigation" (for lack of a better word) which in turn becomes a full-scale operation including the FBI, NYPD, CDC and NSA. There is much historical and scientific information given by way of backstory, sometimes a little awkwardly. While the book itself is fiction, the science and history upon which it is based are accurate, making it that much more alarming.
Preston is a Science Journalist by profession, not a novelist. This is evident in the style of the work. It can be awkward, as stated above, maybe even a little cheesy...not Dan Brown cringe-inducingly bad, just not crisp. In spite this, there are some passages that are brilliant, almost poetic. These are always in his descriptions of forces of nature, which clearly evoke passion in the writer.
Bottom line: a fun (well, as much fun as gruesome illness can be), exciting trip to the world of forensic pathology. Club meeting should include other guilty pleasures such as cheap Chianti, Velveeta dip and raw cookie dough (c'mon, we all love it.)