Even with Ludlum’s urge to italicize and slam down double exclams kept under iron control, the new team still has a pop hit...

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ROBERT LUDLUM'S THE HADES FACTOR

Veteran bestseller Ludlum (The Apocalypse Watch, 1995, etc.) takes on a co-author for his new trade paperback series.

Lynds (Mosaic, 1998, etc.) has had a calming effect on the Ludlum lust for overexclamatory prose and high body counts—although potentially millions will die here if the mysterious new virus weirdly popping up in unrelated pockets of the States isn’t identified and a cure found to reverse its fast, horrible effects. Colonel Jon Smith, an Army doctor and virologist with the US Army Medical Institute for Infectious Diseases, is in his early 40s and truly in love for the first time. His fiancée, cellular and molecular biologist Dr. Sophia Russell, often works down in Level Four of the Hot Zone at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Sophia leads a team looking into an amazing new virus that has simultaneously struck down an Army major in California, a homeless man in Boston, and a teenaged girl in Atlanta, all suffering the same symptoms and speedy death from lungs filled with blood. Twelve years ago, Sophia accompanied Dr. Victor Tremont into the wilds of Peru, where the natives successfully fought this same virus by drinking the blood of monkeys that had survived infection. When she calls Tremont to verify this, he lies and says he remembers no such thing. Then thugs enter Sophia’s lab while she’s working late, rifle her files, and jab her with the virus. With a great cloud over his heart, Jon seeks his dead fiancée’s killers—although he’s warned off the chase by a former FBI agent and college buddy who knows more about the virus than he should. Suddenly millions of unwitting victims have ingested a slow-acting form of it and will die unless given monkey-blood serum.

Even with Ludlum’s urge to italicize and slam down double exclams kept under iron control, the new team still has a pop hit on their hands that should bounce right up the bestseller lists.

Pub Date: June 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-26437-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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