- Written 2005
- Published 2020 by riverrun
- ISBN 978-1-52941-169-0
- 398 pages
- source: my local library
Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.
"They said that twenty-five percent of the population would catch the flu. Between seventy and eight percent of them would die. He had been directly exposed to it, and the odds weren't good."
A CITY IN QUARANTINE
London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed.
A MURDERED CHILD
At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified.
A POWERFUL CONSPIRACY
D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first - the virus or the killers?
After what we have all been through in 2020, and are still undergoing, this novel set in a global pandemic of bird flu is one that most of us can approach with some understanding. Self-isolation, public panic, and permits restricting us to our homes and local areas all ring bells. But this pandemic, admittedly not Covid-19 in origin, didn't just happen. Someone, something, caused it. And the world is waiting for a vaccine.
Jack MacNeil has decided that there has to be life outside his work, and so he has resigned, and now has only about 24 hours left to his working career. The bones in the bag will very likely be his last case and he is determined to solve it. When coincidences indicate that someone is tracking his every move, even protecting him against attack and robbery, he has to ask why.
At times the scenarios strained credibility but the characters and plot threads felt real enough. And with what we know of the "China virus", we might even ask some cynical questions about what has been happening in our world.
My rating: 4.8