The Cobra Effect Review (Environmental Thriller)

Book cover for The Cobra EffectCory Banks, a workaholic researcher, has been focused on one goal his entire life: finding a way to clean up the oceans. Living in India, he genetically engineers a bacterial strain that will degrade plastics. Disaster strikes and the bacteria grow out of control, eating holes in boats, buoys, life jackets, etc. Desperate to stop the bacteria, Cory comes up with a plan to create a virus that will specifically attack them. But to do this he needs the help of a virologist and there’s only one person who is skilled enough to handle this emergency on short notice. Her name is Sarah Spallanzani and she also happens to be his ex-girlfriend. Having recently finished her travails in The Laptev Virus, Sarah agrees to take on the problem. But tension mounts when Sarah discovers a second bacterial strain and suspects Cory of sabotage. – Goodreads


The Cobra Effect Review

I loved The Laptev Virus , the first book from Christy Esmahan.  It wasn’t what one might call a traditional ‘medical/biohazard thriller’ as there was a distinct lack of pulse-pounding action and tension. However, it was a fascinating look at a ‘real’ reaction to an outbreak. It Even though most of it took place in a lab, I was completely fascinated and recommended the book to everyone around me.

The Cobra Effect had all the earmarks of another fantastic read from Esmahan. A lot of in-lab action, the recognition of danger right from the beginning, and a character that you wanted to be able to root for.  Unfortunately, this book didn’t gel as easily or as quickly as The Laptev Virus did. One of the main problems is that the author spends a lot of time educating her audience using characters in the book as reader stand-ins. As fascinating as the information relayed is, the repeated interjections can take away from the simple pleasure of reading a thriller. 

From bacteriophages to the truth about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Esmahan uses The Cobra Effect as an opportunity to try to get across her point on the dangers of politics and one-track minds dabbling in science. Not only that but also how unintended consequences of attempted fixes can screw things up worse than before. The title of the book, The Cobra Effect, actually clues the reader into.

The cobra effect occurs when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse. as a type of unintended consequence.  – Wikipedia

The first fifty percent of The Cobra Effect is pure set-up and education. It’s dryly written and it’s easy for your attention to wander. However, just past the midway point, all the pieces finally start to click together and the action starts to actually happen. From there, the rest of the book flies by as you’re eager to see how everything is going to resolve. And she does manage to resolve everything neatly. Christy Esmahan strongly believes in the basic goodness inherent in science/ scientists, and this radiates through in her work. 

Overall, The Cobra Effect is a decent read. Like with The Laptev Virus, The Cobra Effect will appeal to a very specific group of people. If lots of technical data and science don’t appeal to you, it’s best you don’t pick up the book. However, if you love to learn, definitely give it a shot!

Title: The Cobra Effect | Series: Sarah Spallanzani #2 | Author: Christy Esmahan (site) | Pub. Date: 2016-11-27 | ASIN: B01MSSPOT9 | Genre: Environmental Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a free copy from the author for review consideration | Purchase on Amazon

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