The techno-thriller genre's newest star, whom People magazine likened to Michael Chrichton himself, unleashes in Reaper the ultimate techno-killer a biological virus that's spread electronically.
In Boston, nine lawyers ona conference call suddenly convulse with pain, turn chalk white and die. In Vermont, a young woman watching her favorite sitcom meets the same grisly fate, as does a group of sewer workers in Washington, D.C. Whatever has killed these people is spreading fast and the task of eradicating it falls to young virologist Samantha Craig and paramedic Nick Barnes, whose brilliant surgical career was ruined by a crippling hand injury.
When Nick and Samantha discover that the virus, named Reaper, is spread through TVs and PCs, they realize that the information superhighway will become a killing field, with tens of millions dead, unless they can root Reaper out. Their search employs a dazzling array of real-life wizardry, from Mylar body paint to Stealth helicopters to CIA-bred swarms of insects. At the core of Reaper's madness, they find a suavely megalomaniacal, up-from-the-slums, high-tech billionaire; and a high-powered cabal that will do anything to save the world from technology, even if that means annihilating the world.
Drawing on the latest medical and technological research and folding in deftly realized characters, Ben Mezrich crafts a relentless, page-turning tale that is at once cutting-edge and utterly believable.
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Ben Mezrich was born and raised in Princeton, NJ, the son of an electrical engineer-turned-doctor and lawyer. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, with no clear idea what he wanted to do next, Mezrich took the LSATs and GREs, applied to law school and graduate school, and looked at about a dozen jobs, ranging from investment banking in New York City to broadcast television in Singapore.
In the midst of this whirlwind, Mezrich realized that his true passion was writing. He settled in a small apartment in Boston and went to work. To pay the rent, Mezrich worked as a television researcher, a communications specialist, a cartoonist and as a research assistant for lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Mezrich devoted a great deal of time to researching his first book, Threshold, spending countless hours in biology labs and hospitals, interviewing geneticists, and pumping his Thursday-night poker group comprised of Harvard M.D. and Ph.D. candidates for information. His newest book, Reaper, is on sale now. He lives in Boston.From Kirkus Reviews:
Mezrich's second technothriller (after Threshold, 1996) charts the progress of two All-American Perfect Specimens in their race against the clock to stop a rogue communications virus from wiping out most of the TV-watching and computer-literate population. Nick Barnes is a ruggedly handsome former surgeon with a crippled hand who now works as a paramedic at Boston General. Samantha Craig is a young and gorgeous virologist who works for USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases), which is assigned to investigate mysterious deaths, apparently virally caused, though they've occurred in widely separated locales (including Boston). And Telcon, the brainchild of black leader Marcus Teal, is a fabulously successful communications company (it's usurped Microsoft's position) that falls under suspicion when Nick and Samantha (who quickly get beyond their initial mutual mistrust, and into each other's arms) deduce that ``a freak modulation of light emitted through a television screen'' is randomly killing people. In parallel scenes juxtaposed with Nick's and Samantha's increasingly heated pursuit of the super-virus, we learn that Marcus Teal's nationwide electronic hookup is part of a plan to reshuffle contemporary priorities; that Marcus's second-in- command, Melora Parkridge, whose father was a victim of chemical warfare, ``intends to use technology to kill technology''; and that Ned Dickerson, a Telcon technician who accidentally stumbles onto secrets he only half-understands, may be the most dangerous of them all. The story moves along quite briskly, considering the author's habit of downloading reams of undramatized information about electricity, ophthalmology, various branches of medicine, and fiber optics. But its characters are cardboard and its denouement, which features a shoot-out in Telcon's main computer room and some of the hoariest dialogue this side of 1950s monster movies, is also a letdown. About on a par with Robin Cook, and a couple of cuts below Michael Crichton. Wait for the (inevitable) movie. ($300,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Harper, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060187514
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