Catastrophe time as communities fall victim to mysterious illness. Bensonhurst, Kentucky (pop. 1242) is hit first: 1039 dead within 24 hours. Just when the team of specialists identifies the cause--rampant infections due to the collapse of immunity systems--Bridgeton, Minnesota gets it too. The experts' panel enlarges and begins to disagree: are bacteria at work or is a man-made electromagnetic field causing the breakdown? The split is intensified when astrologer Vera Norman tunes in, showing she knows all about it and can even predict the next disaster. Eventually she provides a profile of Jephtheh Smith, evil genius: a Leo born in Bethlehem 30 years ago during a solar eclipse, he had a rough childhood and is getting his revenge. Now Smith is researching power grids along the eastern seaboard, and FBI agents track him down to the New York Public Library. Obvious--it's too bad readers will be ahead of the writers.