Phantom Virus:A Bomber Hanson Mystery

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Famed trial attorney Bomber Hanson (Celebrity Trouble, LJ 10/15/97) sends his son Tod, as usual, to investigate another case. This time, he must determine whether a young woman's death had anything to do with the supposed "cure" for her disease. A solid, absorbing mystery.
School Library Journal
YA-Bomber Hanson, renowned attorney, has a lucrative practice in California, employing his son, Tod, as an investigator. The relationship between the bombastic Bomber and his overwhelmed but sardonic son is demonstrated by the fact that Tod only stutters when speaking to his dad. This story involves an overwrought immigrant couple who want to sue the doctor who "killed" their daughter, 22-year-old Merilee Scioria, and repair her reputation. Told she was infected with the "R4" virus, Merilee agreed to take the controversial JCD medication to prevent the symptoms of "Wann," a deadly immune disease commonly implicated in the death of IV drug abusers and gay men. A group of scientists insist that those who are infected with R4 and take JCD for a long period of time will actually develop and die from Wann's. Tod brings the pieces together and then Bomber entertains readers with his courtroom antics. An interesting, somewhat humorous mystery.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888310931
  • Publisher: Knoll, Allen A. Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Bomber Hanson Series, #4
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 275
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Phantom Virus is about whether or not young Merilee Scioria died of dreaded Wanns disease, as diagnosed, or the purported cure, the prescription drug JCD, or in fact a phantom virus.
Is this book fact or fiction?

Both. Even though the names of the drug and disease have been changed, the story is based on a case of a young woman who died of AIDS. That is the official story anyway. Another viewpoint is that she died from AZT, the drug given to alleviate the disease, which by nature kills cells, good and bad, and eventually kills the patient.
Whose viewpoint is that?

Dr. Peter Duesberg, a Berkeley professor of virology. His contention is there is no relationship between the HIV virus and the AIDS syndrome. A million people are HIV positive and that number is static. He says if it were truly a contagious virus, that number would increase exponentially over time. Also, less than five percent of those people who have HIV develop AIDS.
How did you get interested in this idea?

I read an article in Cal Berkeley Alumni magazine about Dr. Duesberg and his theories on the AIDS scare. What grabbed my attention was how, because of his different approach and views on HIV/AIDS, he had been ostracized from the scientific community. From a Nobel Prize contender who taught graduate virology seminars, he was reduced to teaching freshmen science. His funding for research dried up. When he gave a paper in academic circles, those who towed the establishment line walked out.

Many of Duesbergs arguments are persuasive. At the least, I thought he should be given a chance to try his different approach. The U.S. Government funds AIDS research to the tune of eight billion dollars per year, all of it going to the scientific establishment for their one note approach—that HIV causes AIDS. Dr. Duesberg says it does not. This maverick pronouncement interested me. Naturally, I thought it was a fit for Bomber Hanson and his sleuth son, Tod to take on such a controversy while solving a case.
How do you use these ideas in your book?
I took as a starting point the case of the woman who said she got AIDS from her dentist through regular dental treatment. This is a fascinating story, played up by the media because she was a woman, since most AIDS victims are men between seventeen and forty. But if AIDS can be made to seem a heterosexual disease, with women at risk as well as men, the drama, perhaps even the funding, will increase.

There is a simple, persuasive answer to the question about the girl and her dentist, and it's in the book.
Why not write as non-fiction?

Well, Duesberg has published his scientific views already. There is more freedom in fiction, more drama, dialogue leeway and less litigation danger. Today it is often difficult to tell the difference. Fiction is really based on facts. While journalism, as has been discovered, is often wrought with fiction. Fiction is rooted in truth.

Also, I didn't want the book to become an argument or an axe to grind.
What do you hope to accomplish by having this book published?

Well, to give people a fresh way of looking at the HIV/AIDS problem.Perhaps weve been looking in the wrong direction and need to see with new eyes.
How is it that you are able to write your courtroom scenes so realistically, not being a lawyer yourself?

As a kid I went to court with my father to watch him go at it as a district attorney. I am a fan of Clarence Darrow and love to read his magnificent jury speeches. Also, my brother is a judge, and my sister is an attorney.
How many clients has Bomber Hanson defended? Phantom Virus is the fourth in the Bomber Hanson mystery series. The three previous titles were
The Mountain Massacres, which was about mysterious deaths that occurred in the mountains of Angelton, CA and how Bomber takes on defending the prime suspect; Nobody Roots for Goliath, in which Bomber goes after Big Tobacco,and its part in perjured testimony from top industry officials, mysterious deaths and disappearances; and Celebrity Trouble, where Bomber defends a mega-star accused of child molestation.

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  • Posted December 21, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Question the Norm? Read This Book!

    David Champion¿s "Phantom Virus" is a compelling story, especially if you are someone who tends to question the norm. In this case, the norm is the belief that ¿medicine is the best cure¿, when sometimes it can make the problem worse, or cause the problem in the first place. The main character is tenacious in his quest to find out what killed Merilee Scioria, and the readers¿ hearts will go out to her parents, even if her father does seem a bit overbearing at first. As I¿ve said in other reviews, Bomber Hanson¿s direct and blunt approach to his questioning in the courtroom might turn off some readers, but to me it makes him all the more entertaining. I¿d recommend this book for students college-aged and older, and anyone who likes courtroom dramas.

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