With a nice little zinger at the end, this is a satisfying tale told by an expert on bioterrorism.

CONTAINMENT

A fast-moving debut biothriller featuring a mad scientist and his icky pets.

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a farmer becomes horribly ill and dies a grotesque death. More victims soon follow, and Middle Valley descends into crisis: authorities plan to slaughter all livestock and pets, because any or all may be infected with a tick-borne virus. Such is the early fruit of Doctor Vector’s mission. The crazy fellow simply loves ticks for their ability to host so many diseases and to gorge on the blood of animals and humans. He raises them in an insect growth chamber, “a potential terrorist weapon more powerful than an army of soldiers.” Indeed, the ticks are his soldiers, ready to vector their poison across the globe for a motivation that isn’t particularly clear. Luckily, there are people like Curt Kennedy, who specializes in tracking biothreats, and veterinary epidemiologist Mariah Rossi. They identify the nasty, tick-borne Kandahar virus, which is “bioengineered for greater lethality.” Investigators had better hurry, because America is “on the verge of a major epidemic,” as Kennedy says. “Time is death.” Early speculation turns to animal rights groups as the terrorists, which would be ironic given the wholesale prophylactic destruction of animals by the National Guard. The situation gets so bad that the president tells the director of Homeland Security he’s declaring martial law. “First sign of violence,” the secretary responds, “we confiscate firearms” and maybe create mass detention centers. Meanwhile, the evil Doctor Vector had best be careful with “his pets,” lest he find “a tiny tick, embedded in his skin, swollen with his blood.” Those little suckers apparently have no loyalty.

With a nice little zinger at the end, this is a satisfying tale told by an expert on bioterrorism.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3644-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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