Long, compelling thriller about a New Hampshire town devastated by a strange new plague. Some years ago the brothers Peter and Alex Brandes, both scientists, split and went their separate ways. Alex became something like a medical investigator for The Company, ran through some heavy periods of foul play that did not set well with him, and for the past three years has lived on a boat trying to forget his Company ties and failed love affair with fellow scientist Cynthia. Peter--still in their hometown of Lyle--has secretly gone into recombinant biogenetics. Now, suddenly, some totally foreign (manmade) virus has invaded the people of Lyle, and the local hospital is flooded with the dead or dying. And Peter has been murdered in his lab. Impressed back into service by an ultrasecret government agency, Alex investigates his brother's death and looks for the source of the incredible virus that--after a three-day incubation--kills people while leaving them looking still half-alive (the Juliet Effect--she wasn't really dead, remember?). The lungs fill up, the heart stops, the brain waves go flat, and body temperature stabilizes at room temperature. Even so, there's no shortage of oxygen in the blood (""Lovely little bug, isn't it?""). Lyle is quarantined; the massive overflow of bodies receives cremation in a farmer's field; Alex's ex-girl Cynthia shows up to work by his side, relumes his former love, comes down with the virus and dies; and the story itself is invaded by a ""vast, unreasoning, inescapable, and impenetrable"" governmental network at odds with the one behind Alex--who is caught in the interface. Meanwhile, Cynthia's still blushing body heads toward the farmer's field for cremation. But what if. . .? what if. . .? . . .what if, like Juliet, she's. . .she's. . .? And all those dead bodies that have already been burned, what if. . .? For the answer to these questions and others like them, dive in.