A lethal microbe, a brutal murderer, and a sentient iceberg menace cooly competent forensic pathologist Joanna Blalock, back for a fourth outing(Deadly Harvest, 1997, etc.). This time, Blalock is summarily whisked away via helicopter to an infectious-disease laboratory drifting off the coast of Alaska. There, a crack team of scientists races to develop an antidote for a highly toxic bugaboo that just might be of extraterrestrial origin. It seems a husband and wife, out for some coastal yachting, tied their boat on to an unusually colorful iceberg and then died rapidly while their four-year-old asthmatic daughter remained alive. The disease also killed a Coast Guard seaman, whose corpse Blalock is to autopsy, while other scientists, including millionaire pharmaceutical researcher Mark Alexander, Blalock’s former lover, study the berg itself, which has been somehow lifted out of the ocean and put into a vast Plexiglass cylinder inside the ship. Shortly after Blalock examines the corpse, the disease breaks out, spreading through casual contact—and steamy sexual encounters—among the hundred military personnel on board. Moreover, someone is killing off scientists, Ö la Dame Agatha’s Ten Little Indians. Is it the brainy but impoverished NIH researcher Malcom Neiderman, who wants to make a million by selling some of the toxin to the highest bidder? What about the insipid but fabulously famous TV celebrity astronomer Benjamin Kagen, who hungers for a big discovery to call his own? Goldberg crowds his tale with numerous supporting characters who die of causes both natural and supernatural, leaving Blalock to unmask the killer and confront the berg itself. Which, after wiping out a few humans it doesn’t like, knocks a hole in the ship and thus gives Blalock the chance to perform some Poseidon Adventure shenanigans. A salty vichyssoise of zingy technobabble and tiresome plotting that, thankfully, refuses to take itself too seriously.