"Clean human blood was a precious commodity as the first decade of the twenty-first century drew to a close. An onslaught of viral and bacterial disease had depleted the reliable source pool, and patients around the world were dying, stuck on long lists waiting for transfusions of unpolluted blood. Lucrative black markets had sprung up in every major population center, from New York to Beijing to Cairo, where illicit blood traded at fifteen to twenty times its weight in gold. Like many medical scientists of the day, Peter and I had dedicated ourselves to the great challenge of developing a safe, synthetic, human blood substitute..." |
That's the gripping premise of Chuck Hogan's The Blood Artists. Doctors Stephen Pearse and Peter Maryk, working for the Bureau of Disease Control (the much tougher, FBI-like successor to the Center for Disease Control), track a killer virus out of Africa that makes Ebola look like a slight case of indigestion. This nasty bug seems to have both intelligence and an agenda, and when it acquires a human host it might just be too much for the world to handle. As he did in his first thriller, The Standoff, Hogan humanizes complicated concepts and creates characters with lots of energy.