Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Phage' by Mark Tamplin

This is a book that, after I finished reading it, I was glad that I followed the little voice that said give something different a try. I must admit the fear of the story being based around scientist and pathogens, something I know nearly nothing about, had me hesitating to read the story, but the story was much better than I could have imagined.
The story opens with Robbie, an unsuspecting widow, working at the Henderson Pork Plant with E. coli just hovering around waiting to wreak havoc. This was a great opening that totally grabbed my interest. When a personal call from Homeland Security was placed to Dr. Sam Townsend; he hopped in his Porsche Cayenne turbo and headed to the airport to answer his call to duty.  By now, I was deep into the story. And after Sam and Polo brought about a successful end to that bacterial spread Sam didn’t have much time to celebrate before he is faced with the greatest challenge of his career, and I was a reader set to follow the adventure.
Dr. Owen Potter, a scientist working for the USDA has a personal grievance against those he thought has wronged him. With this personal vendetta he goes on a one man mission to inflict devastation.
This is a fascinating but oh-so disturbing plot. Its details and descriptiveness were a tremendous help to me as a non-medical reader. The book is a engrossing thriller that shows the dark imagination of the author. The wicked ploy of the villain and his process to have revenge on those who turned down his research is one that took me on an enjoyable suspenseful action read.
I thought the chase in the book was pretty long; from Miami to West Virginia to Mexico. Being that people’s lives were at stake I found it odd that Sam exhausted a lot of efforts to running and hiding instead of making a phone call to speak with officials. The Special Agents were diligently seeking to find Sam but didn’t seem to put as much effort looking for Owen. Sam went under the radar to get to Mexico but Special Agent Maas and Owen ended up in Mexico at the same time and in the same place as Sam.
The characters were lively and kept the story flowing. I don’t normally like the bad guys, but Owen with his creepy personality and determination was humorous, though I’m sure glad I don’t work with him. He doesn’t work well with others. His determination is inspiring because he actually is brilliant, but his disturbing behavior takes precedence over his scientific knowledge.
The author touched on a little of the past for Sam and for Polo but I would find it interesting to read a novel about the backstory on Sam and his wife and how Sam and Polo started working together. And definitely more expansion on the story behind Owen and ‘Mother’.
The author tells an interesting story. With subject matter that most readers probably aren’t familiar with the author did an awesome job giving description and details in the lab and as far as the scientific terminology. He broke down the highlights and gave a mini course about viruses, bacteria and pathogens that didn’t drown the story with needless details but gave just enough for the readers to be able to follow.
The story wrapped up everything nicely but I’m sure with a record of solving several biological threats that Dr. Sam Townsend will have plenty more battles to keep the world safe from any future wave of harmful viruses. This is a book I highly recommend for those who enjoy a good entertaining read that brings about a little something more.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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