In this debut thriller, an American lawyer finds himself imprisoned on an island populated by Ebola-infected individuals during an outbreak.
Attorney Jack Gamble’s latest class-action suit is sure to earn him millions. While he’s eager for the financial reward, the lawsuit does have merit. Ebola outbreaks around the United States and other parts of the world have led to Madagascar’s becoming the hub for treatment centers. Stemming from a treaty with multiple countries, signatory governments now control the majority of the island, which the media dub Ebola Island. Jack’s class action involves people with loved ones who have Ebola and whom the American government has deported to the island, from which no one seems to return. The lawyer apparently has a break in the case when two brothers from Madagascar track him down with thumb drives of incriminating information, including land profiteering. Unfortunately, shady types from the Centers for Disease Control witness the interaction, and Jack is soon under arrest for suspicion of Ebola infection and on his way to the island. As his law associate/live-in girlfriend, Maddy Keller, tries to get him home, Jack realizes men from the CDC may be gunning for him on the island, an already treacherous place with crocodile-filled waters and cannibals. Pratt retains a high level of suspense in his story, as Jack, with help from the two brothers, has an arduous, five-week journey across Ebola Island to Malagasy, the only part free of treatment facilities. The island is a terrifying spot where inhabitants, often called “inmates” or “marauders,” are out of control. Regardless, the author’s illustrative prose sometimes lingers on Madagascar’s beauty: “There were small pockets of trees and the unmistakable tracks of streams or rivers where green vegetation flowed in a serpentine fashion along the valley floor.” Meanwhile, supporting characters shine, particularly Maddy and Jack’s friend and lawyer Ed McManus; they try to prove the invalidity of the protagonist’s Ebola diagnosis. And though the tale seemingly demonizes the CDC, two nefarious, formidable figures are the primary villains.
Remarkable characters propel a potent story brimming with action and suspense.