Friday, March 22, 2013

Virus Thirteen by Joshua Alan Parry

James and his wife Linda live in a world where viruses have been all but eliminated. Babies are born completely immune to cancer and AIDS is no more. Husband and wife are both employed by GeneFirm and have just gone public with a revolutionary discovery, but during their announcement James collapses. Doctors hesitantly diagnose him with brain cancer, but everyone knows the diagnosis is impossible - James has the cancer resistant gene implanted in all children. A quick DNA scan shows that James does not in fact have the resistant genes but before anyone can investigate further a deadly flu-like virus spreads globally in just days. Linda is assigned to the team responsible for finding a cure while James is on his own to find out just what his health scare and diagnosis really mean.

The premise for Virus Thirteen is great - it's a futuristic world where the government now enforces health care. If you're too overweight or have any kind of dependency that will lead to rising medical costs, you're forcibly sent to rehab. And while advancements in medicine have led to the eradication of some of the most dangerous illnesses, a manufactured virus knocks the country on its knees.

Parry's debut is fun but not without issues. It's at times just a bit too over the top to be taken seriously. Characters and their actions are exaggerated - the bad guys aren't quite Bond villain-esque but some are only just shy of it. This is one case where I felt like a little slower pacing would have been a benefit, allowing a little more of a chance to spend time in the book and get to know the characters.

The science in the book, on the other hand, is pretty believable. I'm definitely no expert, but I did find Parry's ideas to be presenting in a wholly convincing way.

Virus Thirteen officially hits shelves on Tuesday, March 26.

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