Chicago cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly is racing to save his city from a deadly new foe: a biological weapon unleashed underground.
When a lightbulb falls in a subway tunnel, it releases a pathogen that could kill millions. While the mayor postures, people begin to die, especially on the city’s grim West Side. Hospitals become morgues. L trains are converted into rolling hearses. Finally, the government acts, sealing off entire sections of the city—but are they keeping people out or in? Meanwhile, Michael Kelly’s hunt for the people who poisoned his city takes him into the tangled underworld of Chicago’s West Side gangs and the even more frightening world of black biology—an elite discipline emerging from the nation’s premier labs, where scientists play God and will stop at nothing to preserve their secrecy.
It’s a brave new world . . . and the most audacious page-turner yet from an emerging modern master.
Harvey shows how a thriller focused on bioterrorism should be done in his outstanding fourth novel featuring Chicago PI Michael Kelly (after The Third Rail). At a high-level meeting that includes the city's mayor and Homeland Security agents, two scientists reveal that a biowarning device in a subway tunnel has detected the possible presence of a pathogen. Kelly provides security for the biologists when they visit the site of what everyone hopes is a false positive. Skeptical of the explanation for why the Feds or Chicago PD aren't being used for the job, Kelly soon learns that some form of superbug is felling Chicagoans left and right. As the city is quarantined, Kelly risks his life to track down the truth, a search that brings him into conflict with the Mafia and a ruthless narcotics gang. The complexity of the plot never overwhelms the narrative flow in this utterly persuasive view of a present-day apocalyptic nightmare.
Why it's a good read
I read all his books now and for the genre Harvey's got a handle on dialogue and respects the gritty, private eye staple behavior that keeps his books true to expectations for crime fiction/mystery. He works deep into the political links - each story rots in city hall somehow -- this makes the stakes higher and the motivations more interesting. this political and "chicago ness" is perhaps my favorite aspect and why I read this one.
FYI: If you also like the political characters and haven't read the fifth floor and you like the political links - read it. He's at his best there.
The black biology threat in this book obviously raised all the stakes and this made it all around a exciting read and alarming in reality as I learned a lot about what's possible.
Execution of believability once the chaos struck is the only weakness- the aura and chaos of a city under siege was treated with a two dimensional hand here - and I expected more fabric and emotional reaction from some of the characters
to the pain of all the death and destruction.
Definitely keeps you on edge from beginning to end can't wait for the next one
Another great book from Michael Harvey!
If you love Chicago or even if you just live there, you'll love Harvey's books. This is just another great one.