The Armageddon Virus
by Robert Gallant
PageTurner Press and Media

"If you could go back far enough in your genealogy, you would discover that your ancestors were viruses."

After enigmatic covert agent Travis Weld shadows an illicit weapons dealer and intercepts coded phone messages offering the sale of a deadly new virus, he sends his graduate student protégé Chesney Barrett undercover as a newspaper reporter to investigate the world of virology research. Just as Barrett prepares to follow the trail to a Texas research lab and the smoldering Dr. Martin Giles, she’s embroiled in a puzzling double murder involving methamphetamine dealers in the tranquil Louisiana bayou where she researches water and vegetation samples for her environmental studies thesis. But the new virus and its threat to humanity is the most daunting enemy: “A virus is a serial killer, striking at random and leaving a few clues, some meaningful and some misleading. A successful serial killer craves a worthy opponent…”

The author’s life experiences include a long residency in Louisiana and decades of work with Dow Chemical Co., and both serve him well in crafting the world of Travis Weld and Chesney Barrett in the medical settings of this thriller. Gallant has a talent for in-depth development of characters and settings and, once again, has brought both fully to life in this third installment of the Weld-Barrett partnership. Both protagonists and antagonists behave with all the complex motivations of their hypothetical real-life counterparts. At times the prose is a bit uneven, but Gallant, who has a reputation for buckling down for months or even years to research his books, offers his usual well-researched historical contexts and scientific underpinnings in the novel. This title’s plot is well thought out, and the rapidly developing subplots are artfully crafted with clever twists to keep readers in suspense and the pages turning. And of course, this is a timely read when the the real-life world struggles with pandemics.

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