Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Hot Zone (1994)

Author: Richard Preston | Page Count: 418
She had bled around the edges of the Band-Aid. She did not see any monkey blood on her hand.
She put the last glove under the faucet. The water was running and it filled up the glove. The glove swelled up like a water balloon. She dreaded the sudden appearance of a thread of water squirting from the glove, the telltale of a leak, a sign that her life was over.
A true story about an outbreak of Ebola virus in a suburb of Washington D.C. Written more as a thriller than a historical account worked in making the story incredibly dramatic and more horrifying than any actual horror novel if one were to think about the possibilities put forward in the text. The book covers many principal characters from the first outbreak of the so called filoviruses or thread viruses as they first appeared in Africa and the ensuing chaos they wreaked on the populace of Sudan and Zaire and the possible sequence of events that led to their traveling to the U.S. The workers at a monkey house stumble upon some sick monkeys which will eventually turn into a huge joint operation between the Army and CDC to prevent an outbreak that could endanger 90 percent of the population.

Preston weaves the history of the viruses and the many characters surprisingly well as the story is easy to follow despite the large number of participants and multiple events happening simultaneously. Writing it in the style of a thriller was a good decision as writing it any other way that could possible make it uninteresting would be a shame.  It will keep you up at night if you imagine the filoviruses spreading the same way that say HIV has spread. It would be a world changing event. Riveting stuff in a surprisingly quick read.

Livers turned as hard as salami out of 5

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