Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Rainbow Virus

The Rainbow Virus by Dennis Meredith
Glyphus, February 2, 2013
Paperback, 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0981884813
The Rainbow Virus is a gripping, realistic bioterrorism tale that launches readers on a harrowing adventure with the flips and plunges of the wildest roller coaster.

At first, loner scientist Arthur Lupo seems the most eccentric bioterrorist of all time. After vanishing from his lab at a biotech company, he releases viruses that only turn their victims a palette of colors. But then his chief pursuers—disgraced FBI agent Bobby Loudon and obsessive CDC epidemic-tracker Kathleen Shinohara—discover a horrifying fact. The brilliant Lupo has stolen the world's most lethal viruses from the Army's bioterrorism center.

Lupo reveals that his first viruses were only a test. He dramatically proves their infectivity by transforming the terrified citizens of Denver into a rainbow of colors. In a chilling declaration, he announces that he will now release an unstoppable artificial virus whose spread will decimate the world's population.

Loudon and Shinohara must race against time, a mysterious assassin, and a secret government faction to find Lupo and stop him.

Author and veteran science writer Dennis Meredith has crafted this riveting tale drawing on his decades of experience working at leading research universities such as Caltech, MIT, Cornell and Duke.

My Thoughts:
The Rainbow Virus by Dennis Meredith is about a bioterrorism attack that turns people different colors - at first the colors blue, red, and yellow, later many more shades and tints including lilac, magenta, chartreuse, egg plant, maroon, pine green, golden, turquoise, etc. While the color change does not appear to harm people beyond their pigmentation, the implications of what is inexplicably happening to people alerts the FBI and CDC. Bobby Loudon, FBI agent, and Kathleen Shinohara, CDC investigator, join forces to try and find who is responsible for the rainbow colored people.
Arthur Lupo is a brilliant young scientist who has apparently decided to turn to bioterrorism. In his personal research Arthur devises a way to insert a change of color into a person's genetic code controlling pigmentation. Loudon and Shinohara soon discover that Arthur has samples of deadly viruses that he has taken from AMRID (Army Medical Research Institute for infectious diseases.) Clearly, Arthur may have a more sinister use of his knowledge in mind. He may be planning to release deadly viruses that could wipe out the human population in a global super-pandemic outbreak consisting of many fatal viruses. Arthur is elusive and cautious, however, and complicating the pursuit is the presence of a mysterious group with another agenda.
While I love virus books of the nonfiction and fiction variety, Meredith does a nice job of keeping it simple for those who value a good action plot over lots of virus details. He explains what he needs to in order to move the plot along. This is clearly an action/adventure novel about bioterrorism and not a treatise on deadly viruses.
There is a point past the half-way mark where the investigation seems to slow down and lose the real feeling of urgency present in most of the book. That could be due to the developing relationship between Loudon and Shinohara. Personally, when a crazy scientist is loose and has found a way to turn people all shades of colors, like designer M&M's, and everything indicates that looming in the very near future is the potential of a deadly bioterrorism attack using this technique to infect people with deadly viruses, I'd like investigators to take the search seriously and set the personal attraction aside until later. But that could just be me. I'm funny that way.
Very Highly Recommended
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the author via Netgalley for review purposes.

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