Containment by Hank Parker

A bioterror attack using ticks as the weapon of destruction is the idea behind the new thriller, Containment by Hank Parker. An Amish farmer and his wife in Pennsylvania become deathly ill and die a gruesome death. Authorities soon figure out they are dealing with a deadly and highly contagious disease. Quarantines soon follow, and once they learn it is transmitted by animals, mass slaughter of livestock and pets is ordered. An attractive female scientist, Mariah Rossi, is paired with a handsome and versatile government investigator, Curt Kennedy, to track down the virus and the person or persons responsible for deploying it before a national and global crisis occurs.

I was attracted to the premise of this book with a new angle on bioweapons, a deadly and fast-spreading disease, and a race to stop wider-scale deployment of the weapon. The development of this premise, unfortunately, was weak. The characters were flat, the romance between Mariah and Curt felt tacked on and unnecessary. The villain, who calls himself Dr. Vector, was motivated by a sort of revenge, but his motivation was murky and his plan to exact revenge seemed poorly thought out. Also, it was fairly easy to puzzle out who he was.

The actions of the government in trying to contain the outbreak and prevent its spread seemed unlikely, as did the reactions of the populace, both within and outside the containment zone. A novel of this sort takes a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, but it shouldn’t require an infinite amount.

The novel is fast-paced and several of the sequences are quite thrilling. The audio version is narrated by George Newbern who does a good job with the pace of the novel and the individual characters are well-voiced and easily distinguishable. A couple of minor problems with inconsistent pronunciation, but overall Newbern does a fine job.

I received an advance copy of this audiobook for review.

Description: From a former US government advisor on agroterrorism comes a ripped-from-the-headlines debut thriller about a global plot to release a deadly virus and the elite response team who must try to stop it.

When a gruesome new tick-borne virus breaks out near a major US city and the outbreak is traced to an extremist group in Southeast Asia, the race to stop a global bioterrorism conspiracy is on. Government epidemiologist Mariah Rossi must leave the safety of her lab to help fellow scientist and covert CIA agent Curt Kennedy track the disease back to its source. Their worldwide net leads them to an underground lab in the jungles of the Philippines, then to a deadly and climactic battle in coral reefs near Malaysian Borneo, and finally to London and back to America, where the virus must be contained. For fans of Michael Crichton and Richard Preston, this chilling, realistic thriller is a terrifying reminder of how vulnerable humans are to biological threats—and in this instance, just one tick bite away from catastrophe.

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