Containment: From a former US government advisor on agroterrorism comes a ripped-from-the-headlines debut thriller about a global plot to release a deadly virus and the elite response team who must try to stop it.
When a gruesome new tick-borne virus breaks out near a major US city and the outbreak is traced to an extremist group in Southeast Asia, the race to stop a global bioterrorism conspiracy is on. Government epidemiologist Mariah Rossi must leave the safety of her lab to help fellow scientist and covert CIA agent Curt Kennedy track the disease back to its source. Their worldwide net leads them to an underground lab in the jungles of the Philippines, then to a deadly and climactic battle in coral reefs near Malaysian Borneo, and finally to London and back to America, where the virus must be contained. For fans of Michael Crichton and Richard Preston, this chilling, realistic thriller is a terrifying reminder of how vulnerable humans are to biological threats—and in this instance, just one tick bite away from catastrophe. – Goodreads
Containment is a biological thriller involving the release of a super deadly hemorrhagic fever by a literal mad scientist. It’s got most of the boxes checked for this particular type of book. Dashing hero, brave researcher, crazy evil villain, hidden ties, and a race against the clock. It’s also got the sprinkles of romance, the drama of the almost-but-not-quites, and at least one person you’re pretty sure no one should trust. As I said, it ticks off most of the boxes, and is definitely an easy read.
So, it should be awesome, right? Erm… no, not so much. Whilst Containment isn’t a bad read, it never managed to hook me. I ‘bought’ maybe 25% of all the character interactions. The romance especially just sort of lost me. I was never able to emotionally invest in any of the characters. Nor was I able to feel the tension in the race against time and a worldwide pandemic that I should have been feeling. Hank Parker’s writing is technically fine, but it refuses to engage the reader on any sort of emotional level.
Hemorrhagic fever is pretty much the staple of most biological thrillers at the moment. I think it’s losing its effectiveness as a villain. While we might continue to fear outbreaks in real life, when it comes to our books it’s a “Been there, done that”. At least for people who read a lot of this type of book. Now, I will say that the tick transmission was a new one for me to read. However, that one twist just really isn’t enough to do anything. Its always hemorrhagic fever (or a deadly flu), always has a higher than expected fatality rate, and so on. Hank Parker writes efficiently within this world. While I didn’t really buy into it, I didn’t scoff or roll my eyes in disbelief either. I think a younger audience might appreciate the book a little bit more than I did.
Overall, Containment is probably a good read for someone wanting to get into reading biological thrillers, but it is not a great one. There are much better choices available. However, Mr. Parker has potential and this is his debut work, so it’s bound to be a little rough around the edges. It’ll be interesting to see what he manages when he refines his craft a bit.
Containment is available for pre-order on Amazon.