After the unexplained accident-incident in Utah, could we become a nation of sheep? This is in fact on a direct diagonal to the audience of Lederer and/or Burdick or perhaps Knebel, without quite the push or panic button hysteria, when a ""virus"" (it turns out to be Japanese encephalitis) is released on a small town in Utah. Meantime back at the Pentagon, the government conducts an official smother play. Following what seems to be a sonic boom, the 86 natives of Tarsus become ill (from vomiting to severe psychotic symptoms) and the kill-rate goes up past 80%. Surviving the suppressed disaster are Paul Donovan, a biologist, and Hope Wilson, just divorced (a romance here). Paul makes his way back East to arouse action, then returns for Hope smuggled in a library bookmobile. . . . Mr. Sutton, not writing like his old self or his other self (David Slavitt), has managed an efficient, energetic novel tracking a common concern.