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The Rainbow Virus by Dennis Meredith

The Rainbow Virus

by Dennis Meredith

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The Rainbow Virus by Dennis Meredith is about a bioterrorism attack that turns people different colors - at first the colors blue, red, and yellow, later many more shades and tints including lilac, magenta, chartreuse, egg plant, maroon, pine green, golden, turquoise, etc. While the color change does not appear to harm people beyond their pigmentation, the implications of what is inexplicably happening to people alerts the FBI and CDC. Bobby Loudon, FBI agent, and Kathleen Shinohara, CDC investigator, join forces to try and find who is responsible for the rainbow colored people.

Arthur Lupo is a brilliant young scientist who has apparently decided to turn to bioterrorism. In his personal research Arthur devises a way to insert a change of color into a person's genetic code controlling pigmentation. Loudon and Shinohara soon discover that Arthur has samples of deadly viruses that he has taken from AMRID (Army Medical Research Institute for infectious diseases.) Clearly, Arthur may have a more sinister use of his knowledge in mind. He may be planning to release deadly viruses that could wipe out the human population in a global super-pandemic outbreak consisting of many fatal viruses. Arthur is elusive and cautious, however, and complicating the pursuit is the presence of a mysterious group with another agenda.

While I love virus books of the nonfiction and fiction variety, Meredith does a nice job of keeping it simple for those who value a good action plot over lots of virus details. He explains what he needs to in order to move the plot along. This is clearly an action/adventure novel about bioterrorism and not a treatise on deadly viruses.

There is a point past the half-way mark where the investigation seems to slow down and lose the real feeling of urgency present in most of the book. That could be due to the developing relationship between Loudon and Shinohara. Personally, when a crazy scientist is loose and has found a way to turn people all shades of colors, like designer M&M's, and everything indicates that looming in the very near future is the potential of a deadly bioterrorism attack using this technique to infect people with deadly viruses, I'd like investigators to take the search seriously and set the personal attraction aside until later. But that could just be me. I'm funny that way.

Very Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the author via Netgalley for review purposes.

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
This was a well done book that was part thriller and part bio-terrism. It was well written and engaging and I enjoyed it. I got a copy of this book from NetGalley to review.

Arthur Lupo at first just seems to be eccentric when he unleashes a genetic virus on the population that turns people a multitude of colors. Then it’s revealed that he has gotten his hands on some of the world’s deadliest viruses and the rainbow virus was just a test. Now two people, Kathleen Shinohara (from the CDC) and Bobby Loudon (a disgraced FBI agent) must race against time to track down Lupo and figure out how to stop the Rainbow Virus along with other potentially more vicious viruses from spreading.

I picked this book up to read for a pretty silly reason...I was participated in a Color-coded reading challenge and needed a book with the word Rainbow in the title. I am glad I read it, although not typically the type of book I read, this was a well done genetic thriller of sorts.

I don’t know a ton about genetics, so I am not sure how accurate some of the scientific terminology was throughout the book. However, none of it sounded all that contrived and it all seemed very plausible and was a very interesting premise. I love the idea of a genetic terrorist who does a “test study” by genetically altering a person’s skin color.

There are some interesting issues brought up around skin color because of all the different skin colors. There is talk of rights for differently colored people and instant rumors of what skin colors make you better at which things. There is also an instant market for makeup and clothing that matches different colors of skins. It is kind of interesting to think about the social implications of a society where everyone is a completely random color.

What really drove the story for me though was the two main characters. Bobby is initially not a very likable characters. He’s a disgraced FBI agent, separated from this wife, and hops from one woman to another. As the story goes on and his past is revealed we found out Bobby has been wronged in a pretty big way. You watch as Bobby tries to solve this case, as he falls in love with Kathleen, and as he struggles to maintain contact with his daughter that he misses horribly.

Kathleen is a very driven woman. She is super smart, works hard, and is absolutely obsessed with infectious disease. Watching her struggle to unravel clues with Bobby at her side, and struggle not to be charmed by Bobby is entertaining. She is an endearing character that I really enjoyed reading about.

There is definitely a thriller element to the book as well. There are a number of very harrowing scenes where people are fighting against the worst enemy of all, a virus. There are also some shootout scenes and the book ends up being fairly action packed.

The book is well written and easy to read. I enjoyed how everything was wrapped up. This is definitely a novel for adults. There is a lot of discussion about sex and some sex scenes.

Overall a well done genetic thriller. I enjoyed the story and the characters. If you are interested in reading about bioterrism I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
  krau0098 | Dec 20, 2013 |
Took awhile to finish. Not a bad book but the romance angle wasn't working for me. However, the concept was very interesting and as long as the story centered on the science, this was an interesting book ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Aug 14, 2013 |
I'm one of those people who will read any fiction with the biohazard flower on the cover or the word 'virus' in the title so I saved this one to enjoy during vacation. I was not disappointed!

I'm not a virologist so I can only say the science sounds plausible. The depiction of communication problems between various government agencies (and even within individual bodies) is spot on.

People mysteriously start turning vivid colors with only the services of an allergist in common. FBI agent Bobby Loudon and his partner Walter are on the hunt to find missing scientist Arthur Lupo. Their paths cross with CDC field agents Kathleen Shinohara and Doc Smith who are searching for the origin of the color-changing virus.

The most thought-provoking moments are offered by the victims of the virus attack. How much of our identity is based on the color of our skin? Becoming a different color is originally a novelty that confers instant celebrity status and financial gain. Later sufferers face relationship insecurities, racism, and the sense of losing who they are. The public crisis is cleverly paralleled in the growing interracial romantic relationship between Loudon and Shinohara.

Other items for thought: What makes someone become a bioterrorist? Who really holds power? What do they know? Should they be trusted? Are there sufficient safeguards on facilities conducting genetic research?

But this book doesn't have to be an intellectual exercise. The characters are colorful (no pun intended) and the story is well-written. There is plenty of suspense, romance, action, and even some moments of levity. Fans of medical thrillers will love this book and other readers can also find plenty to enjoy within its covers.

This review is based on the Kindle Adult edition. ( )
  chazzarcturus | Jun 29, 2013 |
This review is of the adult edition of The Rainbow Virus.

I am a great of techno-thrillers, but this was my first time trying a novel that was this science heavy, and I was not disappointed. The Rainbow Virus is a very fast-paced thriller that draws you in from the first page with the quirky nature of the virus, but then turns menacing as the nature of what Lupo, the originator of this virus, is capable of becomes clear. The possibility of biological warfare being unleashed on the American public is a very real threat and the author drives that idea home without becoming overly conspiratorial or overtly threatening — a fine line to tread today.

While I cannot speak to the accuracy of the science involved in virology and epidemiology, for a casual reader it was treated well. Everything at least sounded plausible, and the author didn’t feel the need to inundate you with facts and hard umbers. Instead, enough science is given in layman’s terms to allow for an understanding of the processes involved in the virus and the threat that is posed to a large population should any of the known “superbugs” be unleashed. This helped to heighten the excitement of the story as you truly felt the need to stop Lupo before he escalated his threat beyond turning people different colors.

For the storyline and readability this was a standard thriller, criss-crossing the country from Los Angeles to Washington DC to Denver, Colorado. Along the way we get to see the redemption of the disgraced, alcoholic FBI Agent Loudon as well as the softening and humanizing of the over-zealous and methodical Shinohara of the CDC. Both of these story lines are becoming a bit cliche in thrillers, but were treated well overall. There is an underlying love story that both these characters are involved in that does seem forced, however. I felt that the character development and ultimate changes in both could have been accomplished without the relationship going as far as it did.

Despite the nature of this being a biological thriller, I felt that the best part of The Rainbow Virus was the philosophical question that it raised — “What would race relations become if all people were every color in the spectrum?” The actual virus from which the book gets its title is benign, except for the fact that those infected slowly change color — colors that range from deep indigo to bright yellow! Unfortunately the way this racial question is treated didn’t really work for me. Suddenly, half way through the book we are introduced to “the Killer” who is hired to assassinate Lupo for attempting to eliminate the white race. Add this to the “black helicopter” government storyline and the overall story is weakened slightly. If you can ignore this little bit and enjoy the ending action, however, then it’s well worth the read.

The Rainbow Virus has also been published in a Young Adult edition that cleans up some of the language, violence, and adult themes in the book, while still retaining the overall story, science, and action of the adult version. ( )
  chensel477 | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Book description
It's the weirdest bioterrorist attack ever! A frightening epidemic of unknown viruses is turning people red, yellow, blue, chartreuse, pumpkin... An eccentric, brilliant biologist vanishes from a local biotech company. Is he the culprit? An unlikely team pursues the mystery: disgraced FBI agent Bobby Loudon and obsessive CDC disease detective Kathleen Shinohara.
Haiku summary
Strange virus unleashed.
People transformed to rainbows.
Beautiful or death?

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0981884814, Paperback)

The Rainbow Virus is a gripping, realistic bioterrorism tale that launches readers on a harrowing adventure with the flips and plunges of the wildest roller coaster.

At first, loner scientist Arthur Lupo seems the most eccentric bioterrorist of all time. After vanishing from his lab at a biotech company, he releases viruses that only turn their victims a palette of colors. But then his chief pursuers—disgraced FBI agent Bobby Loudon and obsessive CDC epidemic-tracker Kathleen Shinohara—discover a horrifying fact. The brilliant Lupo has stolen the world's most lethal viruses from the Army's bioterrorism center.

Lupo reveals that his first viruses were only a test. He dramatically proves their infectivity by transforming the terrified citizens of Denver into a rainbow of colors. In a chilling declaration, he announces that he will now release an unstoppable artificial virus whose spread will decimate the world's population.

Loudon and Shinohara must race against time, a mysterious assassin, and a secret government faction to find Lupo and stop him.

Author and veteran science writer Dennis Meredith has crafted this riveting tale drawing on his decades of experience working at leading research universities such as Caltech, MIT, Cornell and Duke.

(A Young Adult Edition of The Rainbow Virus is also available, edited to eliminate adult language and situations.)

For more information on Dennis Meredith's novels go to www.DennisMeredith.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

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