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No treatment. No cure. No hope
Once it seemed as though penicillin and other antibiotics had won humanity a lasting victory over harmful bacteria. But now hardier bugs, resistant to most common classes of antibiotics, are emerging–with potentially catastrophic consequences.
When Dr. Catalina Lopez of the Center for Disease Control first receives a report of a lethal new "superbug" immune to all known antibiotics, she realizes that she has a major health crisis on her hands. An ultra-resistant form of group A strep is spreading like wildfire throughout hospitals and emergency rooms in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Doctors, lacking any effective way to combat the infection, can do nothing but stand by and watch their patients die, one after another.
Dr. Graham Kilburn, an infectious disease specialist in Vancouver, is one such doctor. Desperate to contain the spread of the new superbug, he joins forces with Lina Lopez as they try to find some way to halt the growing epidemic.
What they don't realize is that shadowy forces are conspiring to spread the disease on purpose–and they will stop at nothing to avoid exposure.
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Daniel Kalla is the internationally bestselling author of Pandemic and Rage Therapy. He is an emergency room physician in Vancouver, British Columbia.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1Portland, OregonHe eased the stolen black Ford Explorer to a stop behind the Dumpster in the dismal alley. When he switched off the ignition, the interior lights brightened and he caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the rearview mirror. There was nothing familiar about the face staring back. With three days’ worth of stubble, spiked black hair and frosted tips, and the thick chain and heavy cross dangling from his neck, he could have been eyeing a total stranger. Someone he would have despised at first sight.Dennis Lyndon Tyler—or at least that was who his out-of-state driver’s license purported him to be—appreciated order in his life. Normally fastidiously clean-cut, he favored a dark jacket and tie for his assignments. Simple. Dignified. Nondescript. But now he dressed like a walking neon sign in a shiny blue track suit with reflective white Nikes and the gaudiest Rolex knockoff he could find. And he couldn’t shake his low-grade nausea from the stench of his own cheap cologne.Tyler peeled his eyes from the mirror. A job is a job, he repeated the familiar mantra in his head. The money is right. Focus.He stepped out of the car. As he instinctively smoothed out the creases in his jacket, his hand brushed over the hard metal strapped under his right sleeve. The gun’s contact brought a welcome sense of familiarity.Walking the alleyway, he deliberately infused his normally crisp stride with the cocky spring he had noticed in the others he’d studied. After three weeks of posing, the gait had nearly become second nature. He could maintain it without trying.This was the fifth alley he had covered tonight. Yet another of the many gathering spots for the lowest of Portland’s lowlifes he’d visited in the past few days. They congregated here, huddling in the doorways and other nooks and crannies among and between the rundown buildings, preoccupied with their sole reason for existence. Drugs.He’d chosen well this time. This alley writhed with junkies. Male. Female. Some alone, others clustered in groups. A number of them looked young enough to be in junior high school. A few lay on their sides or sat propped up by a wall, their glassy eyes open and pinpoint pupils staring out at nothing. Several fumbled at the tourniquets on their elbows or at their partners’ necks, searching for that elusive vein to inject whatever chemicals they could force into their bloodstreams. Though Tyler had become accustomed to the activity, his guts still churned from the stench of the Dumpsters and the smothering sense of desperation and need.As he passed by, he caught the eye of a number of junkies who recognized his unofficial uniform. A tall thin man with a ravaged face and matted hair swaggered up to him. He stopped directly in Tyler’s path and, without a word, nodded to him.Tyler eyeballed the addict up and down. His cheeks were hollow, and his scraggly pale arms bore telltale scabs crusted over. Still, Tyler decided that the man didn’t quite fit his need. He shook his head. When that didn’t budge the junkie, he narrowed his gaze and curled his lip into a slight sneer. That sent the man scuttling like a beetle back into the shadows of the nearby building.He repeated the same silent dance with four or five other alley dwellers. He recognized a few potential candidates but passed them over too, remembering that he had been instructed to choose only the absolutelysickest-looking of the junkies.Near the end of the alley, where the light of the main street glowed like the opening at the end of a tunnel, movement caught Tyler’s eye. He turned to see an emaciated woman leaning against a Dumpster. She struggled to push herself upright before staggering out to meet him.The woman was so gaunt that Tyler couldn’t pinpoint her age closer than a range of twenty to forty. She had scruffy jet-black hair and thick chapped lips. Despite the drizzly spring night, she wore a torn black miniskirt and tank top, which exposed a bony sunken abdomen and legs so skinny that they didn’t taper from thighs to ankles. The Aztec sun god tattooed on her shoulder appeared asymmetrical like a painting whose canvas had shrunken underneath it. A pink, rhinestone-studded handbag hung off the same shoulder. Studying her large gray eyes and delicate nose, Tyler imagined that once she might have been pretty. Now, with skeletal features and weeping sores on her chin and cheek, he found her repulsive.Her lips parted into a forced, toothy smile that accentuated the broken incisor on the upper right side of her mouth. “You got anything for me, hon?” she asked in a throaty voice that was meant to sound seductive but struck Tyler as pathetic. He breathed in the scent of her nicotine-rich breath. It mingled with her stale, diseased aroma.She was the one.He tilted his head and smiled. “What you looking for, gorgeous?”“Beggars can’t be choosers,” she said with a giggle and swayed unsteadily on her feet, like a tree hit by a sudden gust. Then her smile vanished, and resolve hardened into the deep ridges of her face. “If you gotta know, I’m an old-fashioned girl. None of this crystal meth shit. I like eightballs.”An old-fashioned girl.Tyler suppressed a smirk. A month ago, he didn’t know what eightballs were, but in the past few weeks he had dispensed several powdery packets of the cocaine and heroin used to concoct the cocktail, which seemed to be a favorite among the most hard-core users. Without a word, he fished in his track suit jacket pocket and pulled out two separate wads of silver foil. They looked as if they had been hastily packaged, but Tyler knew better. He had selected them earlier from the briefcase full of perfectly matching packets that had arrived along with his instructions. Then he had taken the time to grind them with a foot into the hotel bathroom’s floor to produce an even more tattered and authentic looking result.Tyler held the silver foil out in front of him in his open palm. When the woman reached for his hand, he closed it shut around the foil. She jerked her hand back as if it had been slapped. She stared up at Tyler with a look of sudden desperation. Her hand fumbled inside her purse but emerged empty. “I got jack right now for cash, but I got something else ...” Tyler knew where she was heading but he kept his fist closed and watched her expressionlessly.“We can get a room around the corner.” She forced her eyes wider and slowly ran her tongue along her upper lip until it touched the crusting sore at the edge. “And I do everything there. Everything.”She pointed to his fist and gyrated her bony hips slightly, causing her to stumble a step. “Know what, baby? I’m going to give you the fuck of the century in trade,’kay?”The thought intensified Tyler’s nausea, but he maintained his poker face. Focus. He opened his fist. “Tonight’s your lucky night,” he said. “Since I’m new to these parts, I’m offering samplers. This one’s on me.”The woman’s hand shot out and grabbed the packets with surprising deftness.Tyler watched as she jammed the foil deep into her handbag. “You got your own rig?” he asked, referring to the syringe and needle she would require.“Yeah, yeah, in here,” she said distractedly, snapping up the purse as if he might revoke his offer at any moment.“What’s your name?”“Carol,” she sniffled. She shuffled on the spot, looking desperate to leave.“Carol,” he repeated, amused by the middle-class blandness of how it sounded under the circumstances. “Next time, you’ll know who to see about buying your stuff, right?”“Oh, absolutely, you’re my new man, baby,” she said, not bothering to ask his name. Then she swiveled on the spot and lurched on her pumps back to the Dumpster.Tyler watched until she disappeared into a crack in the building behind the alleyway. He had no idea what was in the packets he had just given her, but he had little doubt that it was more than just heroin and cocaine. And from the substantial deposit to his numbered Grand Cayman account, he inferred that it was going to dramatically shorten what little was left of Carol’s pointless life.Running his hand along the sharp and ridiculous spikes of his highlighted hair, all traces of Carol vanished from his consciousness. He turned and headed back for his car.A job is a job, he said to himself. The money is right. Focus.Copyright © 2006 by Daniel Kalla
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Book Description TOR Books, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M076535439X
Book Description TOR Books. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 076535439X Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Seller Inventory # XM-076535439X
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Book Description Tor Books, 2006. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX076535439X