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Review: The Enigma Strain by Nick Thacker

The Enigma Strain (Harvey Bennett #1)“We know we cannot underestimate the importance of emergency planning in our region, nor can we assume we’ll have ample warning time. If an earthquake or terrorist attack hits, we won’t necessarily have advance alerts or opportunities to double- and triple-check our plans”. – Ellen Tauscher

“The purpose of terrorism lies not just in the violent act itself. It is in producing terror. It sets out to inflame, to divide, to produce consequences which they then use to justify further terror.” – Tony Blair

“This country values freedom, but you and I both know that ‘freedom’ is a joke. We’re somewhere between a third-world country with a corrupt government and an overbearing corporation on the scale of how free we really are. Americans now hold on to every scrap of ‘freedom’ they can find, including their own individuality –“ Nick Thacker, The Enigma Strain

Harvey “Ben” Bennett, Yellowstone Ranger, has had a crummy day. First, the worst kind of campers created a huge mess at their campsite – then are all bent out of shape when Mo the Grizzly shows up. Good ol’ Mo, he knows where the easy goodies are. Stupid, messy, complaining psudo-campers, ruining the sanctity of the ecosystem. Bah. Now, Ben has to haul Mo up to the northern end of the park, far away from the campsite areas, and ignorant tourists. This is Mo’s third strike – if he wanders back to populated areas, he winds up on death row. All because tourists can’t keep from treating the park like Disneyland, complete with throwing their trash on the ground.

But when Ben and Carlos Rivera haul Mo north, they run into more than they expected. A monstrous explosion, complete with mushroom cloud, causes an earthquake that drops Carlos into a chasm in the Earth. Now, a red dust cloud hangs over Yellowstone – a cloud of death. As people begin to die, Ben finds himself partnered with Julie Richardson, a specialist with the Biological Threat Research Division of the Centers for Disease Control as they chase the origin of what appears to be a synthetic, airborne virus. A virus that, if released across the US, could cause near total destruction. But that isn’t the only terrorist action that is planned. For the explosion in Yellowstone may only be the first – and if the caldera under Yellowstone blows, the United States will turn into a wasteland.

There is action aplenty in The Enigma Strain. Ben and Julie are realistic characters, well developed and designed, and the people they run up against, from self-centered management personnel to soulless terrorists and guns for hire are also well rendered, though tend towards ‘over-the-top’. As with my review of Thacker’s The Depths, I find myself disappointed with the obvious continuity issues. Editorial issues are not as bad as in The Depths, but I find continuity issues to be tremendously aggravating – especially when it changes the character of the actors, their mental, intellectual and psychological actions and capabilities. Hard right turns in intellectual levels are infuriating.

The ideas are on the edge, but frighteningly believable in these days of worldwide terrorism. It was a fun read overall, and worth the time spent. The infusion of historical events gave the book the extra ‘kick’ it needed to encourage the excitement level.

I receive this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Books For The “Serious Reader” On Your Holiday List

For the more serious readers on your holiday list, I thought I would toss out some ideas today from my own “Must Read” list. Of course, that list gets set aside when I am busy, but I am working my way down!

 

6493208The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.


 

Cutting for Stone

3591262Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

 


16213#1 New York Times Bestseller

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.


 

 

Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World

by C.J. Peters, Mark Olshaker

A New York Times Notable Book249716

The man who led the battle against Ebola in The Hot Zone teams up with the bestselling co-author of Mind Hunter to chronicle his extraordinary thirty-year career fighting deadly viruses.

For three decades, Dr. C. J. Peters was on the front lines of our biological battle against “hot” viruses around the world. In the course of that career, he learned countless lessons about our interspecies turf wars with infectious agents. Called in to contain an outbreak of deadly hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia, he confronted the despair of trying to save a colleague who accidentally infected himself with an errant scalpel. Working in Level 4 labs on the Machupo and Ebola viruses, he saw time and again why expensive high-tech biohazard containment equipment is only as safe as the people who use it.

Because of new, emerging viruses, and the return of old, “vanquished” ones for which vaccines do not exist, there remains a very real danger of a new epidemic that could, without proper surveillance and early intervention, spread worldwide virtually overnight. And the possibility of foreign countries or terrorist groups using deadly airborne viruses—the poor man’s nuclear arsenal—looms larger than ever.

High-octane science writing at its best and most revealing, Virus Hunter is a thrilling first-person account of what it is like to be a warrior in the Hot Zone.


9244361

Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream

by Arianna Huffington (Goodreads Author), Coleen Marlo (Goodreads Author)

It’s not an exaggeration to say that middle-class Americans are an endangered species and that the American Dream of a secure, comfortable standard of living has become as outdated as an Edsel with an eight-track player—that the United States of America is in danger of becoming a third world nation.

The evidence is all around us: Our industrial base is vanishing, taking with it the kind of jobs that have formed the backbone of our economy for more than a century; our education system is in shambles, making it harder for tomorrow’s workforce to acquire the information and training it needs to land good twenty-first-century jobs; our infrastructure—our roads, our bridges, our sewage and water, our transportation and electrical systems—is crumbling; our economic system has been reduced to recurring episodes of Corporations Gone Wild; our political system is broken, in thrall to a small financial elite using the power of the checkbook to control both parties.

And America’s middle class, the driver of so much of our economic success and political stability, is rapidly disappearing, forcing us to confront the fear that we are slipping as a nation—that our children and grandchildren will enjoy fewer opportunities and face a lower standard of living than we did. It’s the dark flipside of the American Dream—an American Nightmare of our own making.

Arianna Huffington, who, with the must-read Huffington Post, has her finger on the pulse of America, unflinchingly tracks the gradual demise of America as an industrial, political, and economic leader. In the vein of her fiery bestseller Pigs at the Trough, Third World America points fingers, names names, and details who is killing the American Dream. Finally, calling on the can-do attitude that is part of America’s DNA, Huffington shows precisely what we need to do to stop our freefall and keep America from turning into a third world nation.

Third World America is a must-listen for anyone disturbed by our country’s steady descent from twentieth-century superpower to backwater banana republic.

 

The Strain: Not Your Teenager’s Vampires!

redstrainEveryone’s first priority is covering their asses…. Pilot, Boeing 777 carrying The Box

He knew quite well that it was plague and, needless to say, he also knew that, were this to be officially admitted, the authorities would be compelled to take very drastic steps. This was, of course, the explanation of his colleagues’ reluctance to face the facts.
-Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

I first read The Strain back when the by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan first printed the book. Scary, very, very scary! I wandered away from horror right after reading this book, but I still remember it well.

Now, I have just watched the first two of the F/X series, and it meets all of my requirements for creepy, bloody and very, very scary! Staring Sean Astin and Adriana Barraza and produced by Cory Bird. This is not your teenager’s vampires. This is most definitely an adult program, as was the book. Blood and gore are the main aspects of the story, bloody as all get out.

The storyline follows the book closely, which I really like. There will, no doubt, be additions and subtractions to the script, but I did enjoy the two shows I watched.

If you like horror, you should read the book. It is quite good, and the series shows promise.

strain-master675 strain

 

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