Signet, August, 2003.
Paperback, 367 pages.
A suspected terrorist is found murdered in a restroom at LAX. Forensic pathologist Dr. Joanna Blalock performs an autopsy on the suspected terrorist; shortly afterwards Blalock is sent to a nearby hospital when an ambulance delivers a patient with smallpox symptoms. Blalock and her coworkers are forced into quarantine when they confirm it really is the deadly smallpox virus. This news sends the FBI and CDC into action, as well. As Blalock watches her co-workers perish horribly from smallpox inside the quarantine. she wonders if she herself will survive. At the same time the government needs her to figure out what the terrorists are planning do with the smallpox. Is there a connection with the autopsy patient found at LAX? Can they stop this small outbreak from spreading?
In Fever Cell, Leonard Goldberg provides a plausible terrorism scenario that is probably causing many sleepness nights for Homeland Defense workers. Goldberg does a superb job of explaining the medical science behind the disease; he fictionalizes smallpox's deadly potential in a similar way that Richard Preston told of its danger in the frightening nonfiction book, The Demon in the Freezer. Both books offer a wake-up call about the dangers of smallpox and how devestating it could be if it winds up in the hands of Islamic militants. Goldberg's characters Joanna Blalock and Lt. Jake Sinclair are sincere and believable, adding to the suspense of the novel. Fever Cell is a great read which will suit both medical suspense and thriller readers.
Fever Cell is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the January-February, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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