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The Cobra Event by Richard Preston

The Cobra Event (edition 1998)

by Richard Preston

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Title:The Cobra Event
Authors:Richard Preston
Info:Ballantine Books (1998), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
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The Cobra Event by Richard Preston

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
The technical information was fascinating, but it overshadowed the story. The characters were poorly developed and way too inhibited. I think Preston is a fine nonfiction writer, but not a fiction writer. ( )
  Deelightful | Sep 25, 2016 |
Set in New York City when a seventeen-year-old student wakes up with what seems to be a cold. Hours later, she has begun a hideous process of self-cannibalization.
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Jul 6, 2016 |
Richard Preston is best known for his nonfiction book The Hot Zone, a horrifying account of the Ebola virus, and other research based books. I was interested in reading his fiction book The Cobra Event. It is a chilling story about what a bioterrorist attack could look like today. Preston also has included in the story some of the history of bioweapons and information regarding bioengineering. If you want to be scared to death by a fiction book that is solidly grounded in fact and almost reads like nonfiction, The Cobra Event will fit that description.

The bioweapon used in Preston's The Cobra Event, is a genetically engineered viral brain pox being slowly "tested" on humans by one crazed man. After 2 suspicious deaths in NYC, the CDC sends Dr. Alice Austen to do the autopsy of a 17 year old girl who dies from this virus. The FBI is also called in and the search for what the virus is and who engineered it begins. There are several very vivid descriptions of autopsies and of the symptoms and ultimately the violent behavior the virus causes in humans (seizures, self cannibalism). This is a very gripping story because it is so based on real facts.

Ultimately, Richard Preston is a nonfiction writer and he writes like one. This isn't always bad, but it does mean that, for example, when describing his characters, he gives us just the facts. Do not expect lengthy descriptive passages that help develop well rounded characters. He gives us the basic information and then proceeds onto his fictionalized attack and real facts regarding bioweapons. His facts are gripping and the story certainly moves along, but The Cobra Event often reads like an nonfiction account of an event.
You'll never look at a runny nose the same way...
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Read this one more than once, great book with a good twist at the ending.
Recently (2011-2013) the duo Preston/Child -series about Agent Pendergast took a turn I do not really appreciate with the Nazis. Being a German I that threat is all to real for me and I do not need them as villains in the fiction I read (with them being in the series from Rollins also and others).
This standalone novel is exceptionally good.
Page-turner, highly recommended.
Another book in the same genre, also highly recommended: [b:Quantico|214372|Quantico|Greg Bear|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1172766774s/214372.jpg|1430847]. ( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
I had already read Preston's ground-breaking non-fiction [b:The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus|16213|The Hot Zone The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus|Richard Preston|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1413747743s/16213.jpg|909325]. But a fiction writer he ain't.

Cardboard characters, a stupidly evil villain, an incredulous plot, and worst of all, poor writing.
I expected much better after having read his non-fiction.
No match for [a:Michael Crichton|5194|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1359042651p2/5194.jpg]
If you haven't read it, I would give it a miss. ( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated to my brother
David G. Preston, M.D.,
and to
all public health professionals,
wherever they may be.
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Kate Moran was an only child.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345409973, Mass Market Paperback)

In New York City in the late '90s, a 17-year-old girl heads off to her private school even though she has a cold. By art class her nose is gushing mucus and she's severely disoriented. Within seconds, it seems, she's in convulsions and, most bizarrely, can't stop biting herself. All the reader can do is hope she'll die quickly, but Kate Moran's body still has a few more disgusting turns to undergo, and Richard Preston--a Jacobean master of ceremonies par excellence--takes us through them in bizarre and bloody detail.

Clearly, whatever Kate had was a head cold with a scientific vengeance. Preston's heroine, Alice Austen, a doctor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, realizes--in the first of several gripping autopsy scenes--that the girl's nervous system had been virtually destroyed. So far, only one other person is known to have died in the same way, but he was a homeless man. Austen must connect the two cases, seemingly linked only by the subway, before the media gets hold of them and drums up a paranoia-fest--and before the virus's creator can kill again.

The Cobra Event is itself a paranoia-fest, a provocative thriller that makes you wonder exactly how much bioterrorism is taking place in the real world. Preston, best known for his terrifying chronicle of the Ebola virus, The Hot Zone, and other impeccably researched nonfictions, is not content to create fast-paced nightmarish scenes. His novel is instead a complex morality tale anchored in uncomfortable fact. Preston is keen to convey the "invisible history" of bioweapons engineering and, equally, to show the unsung heroism of his scientific detectives (along with that of the nurses and technicians who literally sacrifice their lives for medicine). Like their creator, these characters are not without a sense of humor. One calls the manmade virus "the ultimate head cold." Readers will never forget literally dozens of scenes and will never again see the subway, rodents, autopsy knives, and--above all--runny noses in the same light.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Five days ago, a homeless man on a subway platform died in agony as startled commuters looked on. Yesterday, a teenager started having violent, uncontrollable spasms in art class. Within minutes, she too was dead. Dr. Alice Austen is a medical pathologist at the Centers of Disease Control in Atlanta. What she knows is that the two deaths are connected. What she fears is that they are only the beginning.… (more)

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