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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkness in the Depths, of the Earth and Humanity, March 6, 2012
This review is from: The Deep Zone: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In "The Deep Zone" James Tabor combined his knowledge of "caving" with his research of infectious diseases to weave a tale of terror. The plot revolves around a disease that has broken out among front line U.S. troops in Afghanistan that could become pandemic since a cure does not exist, only a drug that slows the progression towards death.

However, research done in the past using a substance called "moonmilk" found in an extremely deep cave in southern Mexico may hold the key to develop an antibiotic, only there is no more available for research at any lab.

A team of four scientists and an exceptionally trained security person (an American James Bond) are assembled by BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority), a government agency, to bring back "moonmilk" from Mexico in a clandestine operation. The reason for the secret operation is because the Mexican military and the local narcos (Cartel narcotic traffickers) are waging a battle in the area where the cave is located.

Tabor creates an atmosphere of terror and suspense as the protagonists journey into the depths of our planet. His description of the cave puts the reader right up close in the dark and in the deep. In a race against time, they delve through ever tighter and dangerous environs comprised of underground rivers, lakes of acid, fissures of undetermined depth, and where total darkness is only a click away from the artificial light they carry with them.

The rhythm of suspense and tension is heightened as Tabor alternates the action between the characters seeking a cure in Cueva de Luz (the fictitious cave) in Mexico and Afghanistan as front line troops are stricken with a new strain of ACE (Acinetobacter baumannii).

The characters and plot are strong through the most of the novel although the dialogue is at times stiff and contrived. The antagonists seeking to thwart the mission to recover the "moonmilk" in Mexico are outlandish and unprofessional and detract from an otherwise good story. "The Deep Zone" loses its strength in the last 50 or so pages. The characters lose all plausibility as they become irrational in their behavior and unbelievable in their actions. "The Deep Zone" is at best a 4 star only because it has a well thought out plot. Though, some of the characters should have been left in the "dark."
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