This bonafide nerve-end entertainment, an Andromeda Strain variant, takes place on the Potomac behind the iron gates of the Villa Petrograd where Schutz, a former Nazi experimenter-exterminator currently employed by the Russians, is working on some viral horror which can filter through the waters to the capital. But actually he has his own private side-game -- a slower death in life via inertia which could be transmitted unnoticed all over the world. Only there's a youngster Allison who's been noticing, from a treetop perch, the disappearance of the chimpanzees in the private laboratory, and is herself noticed -- by Schutz -- who puts her in the next cage to Victor, the last tenant, providing him with the human specimen he covets. Fortunately, and fortuitously as it sometimes happens, there's a young biologist Fergus O'Neil who makes her disappearance the subject of his current research and along with some inspired second-guesswork is able to bring her back, barely alive. . . . Just as it should be -- congealing and urgently convincing and you'll be turning the pages with bitten fingernails.