In Follett's latest Le Mans-paced thriller, doses of the possible antidote to a deadly virus are stolen from a small pharmaceutical lab in Scotland, much to the dismay of the lab's security chief, Toni Gallo. Not only is the actual virus capable of decimating the British Isles, but the theft is certain to interfere with Toni's budding romance with the drug company's widowed founder, Stanley Oxenford. It is to Follett's credit that he is able to combine biological terrorism, romance, sadism, Alzheimer's disease and family dysfunction into an effective antidote to boredom. But these disparate elements, not to mention the idea of trapping heroes and villains with the virus in a country home cut off from the rest of humanity by a snowstorm, come close to parody. Reader Rosenblat's breathless British-accented narration crosses that line at times, particularly when she reads passages in which Follett tries, not always convincingly, to provide reasons for why his good guys can't summon help with their cell phones. On the other hand, she is extremely effective in delivering the novel's dialogue. Her Scottish brogues are especially impressive, as is the cruel Cockney accent she employs to add menace to the book's most unique character, a homicidal thug named Daisy who possesses a broken nose, a ring-pierced lip and beautiful hands. Simultaneous release with the Dutton hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 15, 2004). (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A blizzard of treachery and violence.
Everyone likes a page-turner, and Follett is the best.
Movie-style twists and hairbreadth escapes.
A laboratory technician's mysterious death on Christmas Eve (think: Ebola) puts a Scottish pharmaceutical firm's security chief, Toni Gallo, on high alert. The extra attention is unfortunate for Kit Oxenford, the lab director's bright but disgraced son, who is planning a Christmas heist of antiviral medicine. Beset by huge gambling debts, Kit now has to work off his losses with a criminal team (i.e., terrorists) more interested in the virus than the cure. Meanwhile, director Stanley Oxenford and the rest of his colorful family are gathering at their remote holiday home. Smart and conscientious Toni catches wind of Kit's plans, and a dynamic game of cat and mouse ensues-in the midst of a blizzard. Implausible? Probably. Exciting? Absolutely. Holidays and viruses aren't new to the bio-thriller field, but best-selling suspense author Follett (Hornet Flight) makes the formula work with his trademark strong females, large cast of characters, and race-against-the-clock pace. Have fun suggesting this title to John J. Nance and Tess Gerritsen fans or other readers looking for high-speed escapism. Strongly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/04.]-Terry Jacobsen, Santa Monica P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
With an assist from a beautiful former cop, a more or less dysfunctional Scottish family defends home and hearth against superevil Londoners. Back to the present after confounding the Nazis in Jackdaws (2001) and Hornet Flight (2002), the reliable thrillmeister again makes maximum use of wretched British weather-a freak Christmas Eve blizzard this time-to thicken the plot as a gang of brutal thieves plan to break into the ultra-secure laboratory owned by pharmaceutical mogul Stanley Oxenford, a wealthy widower. Lovely security chief Toni Gallo, late of the Glasgow police force, has already dealt with one viral crisis: the death of a bunny-loving technician infected with the dreaded Madoba-2, target of a vaccine in development at Oxenford's headquarters. Toni's latest task is complicated by her ex-lover, a stinker who drove her from her dream career as a cop and thinks nothing of leaking damaging news to scandal-hungry local telly reporters. She's also flustered by handsome Stanley's attentions. Could the 60ish but studly tycoon have a thing for her? The plot races as Toni ponders. Kit Oxenford, Stanley's dissolute only son, in gambling debt up to his eyeballs, is the thieves' secret weapon. As designer of the lab's security system, computer-savvy Kit knows how to get the gang in to steal the vaccine, a service that will supposedly wipe out his debt. He will, however, have to sneak away from the annual holiday gathering of the clan, a large cast including his two sisters, their mates, their children, stepchildren, and significant-other-children. Toni, who was supposed to be on a spa holiday with her chums, learns at the last moment that her useless sister will be unable to take care oftheir addled mum and is conveniently in the neighborhood when the thieves, who may be after more than vaccine, make it into the lab's inner reaches. Follett's trademark tension and breakneck pace manage (just barely) to overshadow the YA prose. Agents: Al Zuckerman, Amy Berkower/Writers House
Praise for Whiteout
"A blizzard of treachery and violence . . . an adrenaline-pumping thriller." —The Associated Press
"[A] feverish plot." —Rocky Mountain News
"Movie-style twists and hairbreadth escapes." —The Wall Street Journal
"Undeniably suspenseful." —Entertainment Weekly
"Scary . . . provides a rush of fear." —New York Post
"Almost nonstop action with a plausible and sufficiently frightening plot . . . a page-turner, pure and simple." —The Tennessean
"Follett goes down a high-concept road. . . . [He] handles the tension of the circumstances nicely." —San Francisco Chronicle
"A literate, plausible, suspenseful tale that keeps you turning pages well past bedtime." —The Raleigh News & Observer
"A new breed of thriller . . . an agonizingly protracted, nail-biter ending drags readers to the very edge of their seats and holds them captive until the last villain is satisfactorily dispatched." —Publishers Weekly
"Follett's sure hand at the controls of a high-octane plot delivers the expected thrills." —Booklist
"Exciting? Absolutely. . . . Follett makes the formula work with his trademark strong females, large cast of characters, and race-against-the-clock pace . . . high-speed escapism." —Library Journal
"Follett's trademark tension and breakneck pacing." —Kirkus Reviews
"Exciting." —The Kansas City Star