Another apocalyptic hum-drummer, the one about a killer virus heisted by brilliant bad guys.
Chimera M13, bio-engineered in U.S. labs, is a nightmare. Preceded by bleeding from every orifice—don’t ask what happens to one’s internal organs—it kills within 12 hours: 100% infectious, 100% fatality rate. In the hands of the wrong people, the havoc-wreaking potential is obvious, and is it ever in the wrong hands. They call themselves “The Fallen Angels”—a terrorist faction with a heady range of destabilizing options suddenly available to them. Enter Derek Stillwater of Homeland Security, fat-in-the-fire troubleshooter. The brilliant bad guys are in possession of an authentic WMD—but what exactly are their intentions? Are they in it for the big bucks—a foray into the immensely profitable weapons market—or is the U.S. dealing with a pack of fanatical visionaries out to destroy the world in order to remake it in their own image? It’s this latter possibility that has Stillwater on the boil. Before the question can be answered definitively, however, he has to know a lot more about who he’s dealing with. Which means he’s forced to make the kind of WAG (“wild-assed guess”) that explains his unpopularity among certain of his by-the-book bosses. But the WAG pays off with the name of a former Gulf War colleague—Captain Richard Coffee: smart, tough, resourceful and extremely twisted, a good soldier gone seriously bad. Accompanied by the usual wholesale slaughter and scenes of sadistic interplay, the Stillwater-Coffee duel gets going in earnest with—what else?—the fate of the nation hanging in the balance.
Terry serves up stock characters and parboiled plotting, undermining a story that in surer hands might well have been scary.