Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

cover of Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
I don't know how I missed it, but when I was reading through the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child thrillers, both individual and as a team, I somehow missed an early offering of theirs, Mount Dragon. The book was the second book the team wrote, and it is definitely in the manner of Michael Crichton. Mount Dragon is a biological thriller with the title referencing the location of GeneDyne's desert facility for genetic testing. The scientists there are doing advanced work, but Frank Burt, Nobel winner, turns out to have some weird medical problem that has left him on the verge of insanity. Burt's hospitalization leads to the transfer of Guy Carson to the facility. Once there, Carson learns that he will be working on something called X-FLU. X_FLU is a mutation of a chimp gene that prevents chimps from catching the flu. Brent Scopes, the owner of GeneDyne, wants to create a vaccine of X-FLU that will genetically change people to never catch the flu. Of course, Scopes and GeneDyne have success with PurBlood, a soon to be released artificial blood product. However, there are problems. Charles Levine, Harvard professor who opposes genetic engineering, is a constant antagonist of Scopes. Also, Burt and Carson are having issues making a version of X-FLU that isn't an even worse version of the flu. Imagine exploding cranial cavities, and you get one of the side effects of X-FLU. In addition, it is deadly in a short time. The person exposed to X-FLU may die within hours! Carson eventually figures out what the problem is, but that doesn't mean that he and lab assistant, Susanna de Vaca, are lauded. Instead, they are under physical threat from others at Mount Dragon.

The book is a real page turner, and the twists and turns were unexpected and well-done. I found myself wanted to read ahead to see how things were going to end. The book is a great addition to the biological/scientific thrillers that I love to read. I just wish that Preston and Child would write more in this vein both together and individually. They don't churn out enough books in my opinion. If you haven't tried Preston and Child, what area you waiting for? Go to the library or Amazon right now, and start with a copy of Mount Dragon. You won't be disappointed.

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