CLINICAL TRIAL.

Christofferson, April.

Published by New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2000. dj
ISBN 10: 0312868995 / ISBN 13: 9780312868994
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. A medical thriller set on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana where a vaccine against the hanta virus is being tested. SIGNED on the title page. Fine in a fine dustjacket (a new, unread copy.). Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The deadly hantavirus has killed hundreds of Native Americans, so when a reputable pharmaceutical company claims to have developed a vaccine against the deadly disease, it should be good news. But when ImmuVac asks Dr. Isabel McLain to conduct a clinical trial of the vaccine on the Blackfeet reservation in Browning, Montana, the proposal gets a distinctly mixed response from both her and the suspicious Blackfeet. Is the new drug truly safe, or are the Blackfeet being used as human guinea pigs?

Indian activist Monty Four Bear fears the worst, but Dr. McLain stakes her reputation on the trial's safety. Having taken over the poorly-funded reservation clinic after the catastrophic failure of her marriage, Isabel has fought a long, hard struggle to gain the trust of the wary Blackfeet residents of the reservation. She knows she risks everything she's accomplished by endorsing ImmuVac's clinical trial, but she's willing to take that chance if it means developing a weapon against the hantavirus.

But when corporate greed makes for questionable science, whom can Isabel truly trust with her life and her career --and the lives of the Blackfeet?

Review: Dr. Isabel McLain, lately shy of a cushy life and a very bad marriage, has shucked it all and bolted east to the impoverished Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. It's there, shortly into her doctoring tenure, that young and healthy Joe Winged Foot comes into the clinic with shortness of breath and comes out, shortly thereafter, dead, the first of several Blackfoot to succumb to the rare, contagious, deadly, and nearly untreatable hantavirus.

Coincidentally, Dr. Ken MacStirling's newly developed hantavirus vaccine is only waiting on a clinical trial. Fortunate, yes? Not according to activist tribal lawyer, Monty Four Bear, who states that better circumstances would prevail if a population other than his own were used as guinea pigs.

"I had some of the same thoughts." Before Monty even had time to respond, Isabel McLain continued. "Why not wait, until the vaccine has been tested? But Dr. MacStirling pointed something out to me. We're talking years, years, before this product is on the market. In the meantime, how many more lives will this despicable disease claim? Even if the answer is only one, that's one too many. I will do everything in my power," her voice weakened momentarily, "... everything, to make sure that what happened to Joe and Will and Dolores doesn't happen again. Not here. Not on this reservation."
Isabel is fiery, committed, and gorgeous; ditto Monty; something goes seriously (and intentionally) awry with the vaccine; the two diametrically opposed firebrands join forces; canoodling ensues. Anyone surprised yet? Probably not, but in Clinical Trial, April Christofferson's second medical thriller (see 1999's The Protocol) the author wisely dishes up enough sympathetic good guys and ancillary bad guys--Isabel's crooked and licentious husband, Alistair; nasty players from an even nastier Canadian mining outfit; a furious Soviet scientist working for MacStirling's biotech firm, et al.--to crowd out the lack of depth and to keep us happily wondering for long enough which Reds are herrings and which are not. --Michael Hudson

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Bibliographic Details

Title: CLINICAL TRIAL.
Publisher: New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2000. dj

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