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The Rainbow Virus by Dennis Meredith

The Rainbow Virus

by Dennis Meredith

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249704,410 (4.14)None
It's the weirdest bioterrorism attack ever! A frightening epidemic of unknown viruses is turning people red, yellow, blue, chartreuse, emerald, pumpkin, fuschia. . . . 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. They race to find the bioterrorist, but they are thwarted by a shadowy, deadly network called the faction. Who is this group and what is their goal? Will Loudon's and Shinohara's worst fear be realized¿that the colorful infections are prelude to an unstoppable virus that the bioterrorist will unleash to devastate the world? The Rainbow Virus is a breakneck science fiction adventure based on the looming potential of new biowarfare technology to pose a global terrorist threat. It's also a witty commentary on the peculiar human tendency to judge people by their skin color. 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. For more information on Dennis Meredith's novels, go to www.DennisMeredith.com.… (more)



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In The Rainbow Virus, the FBI and CDC are chasing a bizarre virus unleashed by Arthur Lupo, a strange little scientist. Instead of unleashing chaos and killing millions, the virus changes the color of the infected person. The colors are varied, across all spectrums of the rainbow (hence the name). The two primary people on the chase are FBI agent, Bobby Loudon, and CDC scientist, Kathleen Shinohara. It was clear from the beginning that these two would eventually become a couple, something that was too obvious and telegraphed from the beginning of the story. Their belief is that the change in colors is only the beginning, and that Arthur Lupo has mass extinction as his intent.

The writing in the novel was pretty strong. It was professional and competent, and I don’t have much to quibble about it. I really liked the whole concept of the Rainbow virus. Typically in novels of bioterrorism, the antagonist is sinister from the jump, but in this novel, the initial viruses were more light-hearted in nature. After all, nobody was truly getting hurt unless they were particularly offended by their shade of color. Although I generally like the characterization in this novel, I didn’t find Arthur Lupo to be a particularly credible character. His motivation for doing all he did was thin. It was explained that his parents died at an early age. Well, many people have their parents die but they don’t attempt to infect the world with virus. I also didn’t like “the faction”, which was a stereotypical nameless, faceless government organization with unbound ruthlessness consisting of high ranking members of government and law enforcement with nefarious intent. The good guys were better developed and more resembled real people with real motivations.

There was good tension and this novel was overall a fun read that I would recommend.

Carl Alves - author of The Invocation ( )
  Carl_Alves | Sep 20, 2019 |
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 |
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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.
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Strange virus unleashed.
People transformed to rainbows.
Beautiful or death?

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