Thursday, January 8, 2015

White Plague by James Abel

A sub on fire in the Arctic as a infection rages its way through the crew would be a disaster in and of itself. But when the sub is a new design carrying highly classified tech and weapons, that's a disaster of national proportions. 

The battle for the waters of the North Pole has already begun with nations claiming rights to minerals, oil, and passages newly opened thanks to ice cap melting. It's not inconceivable that one of these could stumble upon the sub and that's exactly what our government would like to avoid. Joe Rush and his team are sent out on a rescue mission with two objectives: first and foremost, they must keep the sub and its tech out of the hands of our enemies. Second, they must try and save the crew and prevent further spread of the infection. But in order to succeed, Joe must first identify the pathogen and its origin.

Why do I keep doing this to myself, readers? As I write this it's a bone chilling 11 degrees outside and though the thermostat is set much higher here in my house it doesn't seem to matter: my second cup of hot coffee has been downed and my toes are supposedly wrapped in micro fleece but I still feel like a Becky popsicle.

And yet for the second time in as many weeks I've picked a snow and ice driven story from the TBR. I should be reading books about the tropics to warm my brain!

I was drawn to this one for a lot of reasons even though initially it sounded like it was going to be maybe a little too similar to The Last Ship (the show, I've not actually read the book). And yeah, that similarity both drew me to and somewhat turned me off of White Plague. (Reading dilemmas.) In the end, my penchant for medical thrillers and my own curiosity won out, moving this one to the top of the pile. And boy am I glad! White Plague was a blockbuster worthy read. Further poking led to a nice discovery on my part, too. James Abel is a pseudonym for an author I've read and enjoyed before.

This is the first book featuring Joe Rush, a character whose job is focused on bioweapons/biowarfare, which means lots of fun possibilities (and I mean "fun" in a kind of twisted way). A keen medical thriller/viral history reader will probably have their suspicions about the particular enemy Rush is fighting here - I certainly did and without revealing it to the rest of the potential readers out there I'll just say you're probably right in those suspicions. And I loved how the history was tied in! (Just a little history, and a little conspiracy theory.)

Readers, Abel's/Reiss's debut/latest hit all the right notes for me in terms of action and suspense and I can't wait to see what Rush will be up against next.

Rating: 4/5

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