From molecular biologist turned Anthony Award-winning author of The Killing Kind comes a fact-based thriller about our species’ next great existential threat—perfect for fans of Michael Crichton.
It began four years ago with a worldwide uptick of bacterial infections: meningitis in Frankfurt, cholera in Johannesburg, tuberculosis in New Delhi. Although the outbreaks spread aggressively and proved impervious to our drugs of last resort, public health officials initially dismissed them as unrelated.
They were wrong. Antibiotic resistance soon roiled across the globe. Diseases long thought beaten came surging back. The death toll skyrocketed. Then New York City was ravaged by the most heinous act of bioterror the world had ever seen, perpetrated by a new brand of extremist bent on pushing humanity to extinction.
Detective Jacob Gibson, who lost his wife in the 8/17 attack, is home caring for his sick daughter when his partner summons him to a sprawling shantytown in Central Park, the apparent site of a mass murder. Jake is startled to discover that, despite a life of abject squalor, the victims died in perfect health—and his only hope of finding answers is a twelve-year-old boy on the run from some very dangerous men.
Could a future pandemic be exponentially worse that Covid-19? Holm (Red Right Hand) answers yes in this alarmingly plausible thriller. Public health officials dismiss a dramatic global increase in bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, initially unaware the phenomenon results from the release of an ancient virus from the permafrost due to global warming. The virus infects bacteria across the globe in weeks and leaves medicine helpless as the new combinations render antibiotics not only obsolete but dangerous because continued use of them risks creating an even deadlier viral variant. The collapse of the "antibiotic era" means the resurgence of dormant diseases, as well as the end of surgical implants and organ transplants, since the risk of postoperative infections is too great. The crisis leads to the creation of an ultra-powerful American agency, the Department of Biological Security, which mandates citizens to report anyone suspected of having a high fever. Against this Orwellian background, NYPD Det. Jacob Gibson, a widower, must both care for his ill daughter and probe a massacre in Central Park that may have implications for the global health crisis. Holm perfectly balances plot, characterizations, and science. Fans of Lawrence Wright's The End of October won't want to miss this one. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Co.