BEIJING RED by Alex Ryan
Kirkus Star


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A fast-moving, tense biothriller set in China.

Nick Foley is a 28-year-old former Navy SEAL and combat medic who decides that life is “about stewardship, doing something good with the body and mind.” This leads him to do volunteer work on an irrigation project in western China. While he helps dig ditches, a local Uyghur suddenly contracts a horrible disease and dies a grotesque death. Surprisingly to Foley, the illness is not contagious. Soon he’s quarantined and interrogated by the Snow Leopards, a Chinese counterterrorism unit investigating the possibility of bioterrorism. They know about Foley’s past and suspect him of working for the U.S. government. With them is Dr. Chen “Dash” Dazhong, who is, of course, beautiful, of China’s Center for Disease Control. She quickly realizes she can work with Foley to help solve the mystery. Were the disease—if that’s what it is—viral or bacterial, it would trigger an epidemic, but this appears to be targeted. They speculate they’ve witnessed an untraceable weapon being tested in remote China, where supposedly no one cares about the victims. Meanwhile, Maxim Polakov is a Russian spy running a Chinese asset code-named Prizrak. Polakov is very interested in an “entirely new class of weapon” that could kill millions and make him a hero of the new Russia. A number of people die, including a good friend of Dash's. Details aren’t for the squeamish—eyes turn to “gelatinous goo”—but all the violence advances the story. Foley and Dash had better get to the bottom of this menace because it has a 100 percent mortality rate, and the ultimate bad guy says “I am going to turn Beijing red” with his opponents’ blood. An exciting showdown takes place in Beijing’s Underground City, a real Cold War creation of Mao Zedong.

A terrific tale for fans of the genre.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62953-594-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2016


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