Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Book Review of Germ by Robert Liparulo

Buy from Amazon!

If you breathe . . . It will find you.

The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. Business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None of them is aware of what is about to happen--but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.

The germ--an advanced form of the Ebola virus--has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. Those whose DNA is not a match simply catch a cold. But those who are a match experience a far worse fate. Within days, their internal organs liquify.

Death is the only escape.

The release of the virus will usher in a new era of power where countries are left without defense. Where a single person--or millions--could be killed with perfect accuracy and zero collateral damage. Where your own DNA works against you.

The time isn't coming. It is now. Pray the assassins get you first.

Genre: Adult Thriller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 5, 2007)
Page Count: 577 pages

I won this book in a little contest during Robert Liparulo's class at Realm Makers two years ago and now I finally got around to reading it. XD I've been wanting to read one of his thrillers for a while especially since I had a morbid fascination with the Ebola virus when that whole fiasco broke out a few years ago, so I was happy to delve in!

The Plot: As is characteristic to the genre, this is a very fast-paced book. Lots of gunfights, fistfights, ticking time bombs, and running from people, so it definitely is not a boring book. One scene about Allen running from the assassin in the woods at night had me flipping pages.  The story carried me to the end, but the main problem was the main twist was spoiled by the back cover copy. The characters are uncovering the mystery of this mutated Ebola virus, but if you read that there description you already know it targets people via their DNA. Now there was one twist that thankfully wasn't spoiled by the BCC that was pretty good, but I felt a little annoyed that I was reading about characters solving the mystery to something I already know.

Also Nazi’s were vaguely wrapped up in this and I can’t help feeling it was a little cliche.

The Characters: Julia was definitely my favorite. She’s clever and resourceful. I just didn’t bond too much with the other characters. Stephen and Allen were fine but I felt a disconnect. I also for some reason got the villains Litt and Kendrick mixed up a lot. I don’t know why. Atropos the Assassin had to be the most interesting character in the book. Not just because he named himself after a Greek fate but just because it was morbidly fascinating to get up and personal with the daily life of a gun for hire.

The Setting: One thing I really liked about this book was that the majority took place in Georgia and Tennessee. The characters were in Chattanooga, Chickamauga, and Atlanta at different points and the way Liparulo described the humid heat scented with honeysuckles was really accurate. It was also really funny to know the exact roads they drove on such as Shallowford Road and I-75. The other main setting was Paraguay which was a unique place. I really liked the South American lore and aboriginal languages used. I also got a huge throwback from all of the payphones used in this early 2000s setting. 

Epic Things: I liked how they talked about meditation positively. In the Christian community yoga and meditation has been frowned upon but if you meditate on the right things it can be really cleansing. Also I liked that the author mentioned how knife wounds can even be more dangerous than gunshot wounds because with knife wounds you can specifically target arteries and bleed our someone in minutes. I also liked the villain rant about the Balinese Tiger. I like creepy villain monologue comparisons.

The Theme: Having good intent behind your actions is a good one. Allen saved lives as a doctor daily but he did it mostly for the money and familial approval. Stephen was a medicinal school drop out and now parishioner who focused on ministering to those in need. His heart was in a better place than Allen’s.

Content Cautions: There's a good bit of gore. Lots and LOTS of blood either from people dying from gunshot wounds or succumbing to the organ-melting virus mostly. There's also splattered brains and intestines coming out of someone's body. A character runs through the woods naked to get away from someone, but it's not graphically depicted. Some  characters drink casually and the bird is given at one point. Characters smoke.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) Be Careful About What You Put in Back Cover Copies - As I mentioned before the twist was spoiled in the back cover copy and the uniqueness of the book was really the twist so I felt like that became a double edged sword. It gets you interested but then feels disappointing when the characters work to discover something you already know.

How this can be applied to writing: The best backcover copies should only cover events that occur before the climax of the first act of your story. Look at the back cover of your favorite books and see that that’s what the majority do cover and should cover. If your reader isn’t hooked before the climax of the first act then the story probably needs some work.

Conclusion: I liked a lot of elements of this story but the characters and lack of plot twist lower my ranking. Three stars!

I've been writing since before I could drive. Short stories, investigative exposes, celebrity profiles, editorials, business columns, radio dramas, screenplays--you name it. For the last few years, I've focused on novels. I'm the author of the thrillers "Comes a Horseman," "Germ," "Deadfall," "Deadlock," "The 13th Tribe," and the young adult series Dreamhouse Kings--"House of Dark Shadows," "Watcher in the Woods," "Gatekeepers," "Timescape," "Whirlwind," and "Frenzy."

Several of my books have been sold or optioned by Hollywood producers. All of them are in various stages of production. I'm also working on an original screenplay with Andrew Davis (director of "The Fugitive" and "The Guardian). I wrote the screenplay for Ted Dekker's "Blessed Child." My short story "Kill Zone" appears in the James Patterson-edited anthology "Thriller," and my essay on Thomas Perry's "The Butcher's Boy" can be found in the anthology "Thriller: 100 Must Reads."

Check out his websiteFacebookGoodreads and Twitter!

No comments:

Post a Comment