Those of you who watch all the CSI shows might enjoy this take on crime-scene forensics of sorts: TSI, which stands for “Time Scene Investigators.” TSI folks investigate past medical disasters in order to predict and prevent possible future pandemics. The Influenza Bomb is the second TSI story (the first being TSI: The Gabon Virus) to look into the past history of a great infectious disease to try and stop a present-day apocalypse.
Authors McCusker and Larimore use their extensive bio-med knowledge to draw us into an exciting, fast-paced story involving Nazi terrorism and the 1918 Spanish Flu. Seems the Nazis found a way to weaponize the deadly pandemic bug; now a modern environmental terrorist group known as Return to Earth is taking that knowledge and threatening to unleash all-new “influenza bombs” on major cities across the globe as a way of returning the planet to nature and ridding it of humans.
A group of investigators with backgrounds in law enforcement, virology and epidemics - even terrorism - team up to track down the Return to Earth lab, located where the Nazis built their notorious underground experiment facilities. Apparently the Nazis also tested and stockpiled the antivirus cure to the influenza bombs, and the team must find that as well to save Earth from a new breed of terrorists.
Led up by Dr. Susan Hutchinson and scientists Mark Carlson and Nora Richards, both of whom appeared in the past TSI novel, this ragtag group of experts head into Siberia, where a new outbreak has occurred, then onto Germany and Austria in search of the enigmatic, notorious laboratories and the even more enigmatic cure, known only as Liebfraumilch.
This high-octane page-turner is chock full of interesting factoids about infectious diseases, most notably the Spanish Flu and variations of H1N1, as well as the history of Nazi involvement in bioterrorism. It is a novel that you cannot - and won’t want to - put down. Although some of the portrayal of the anti-human Return to Earth group gets a bit heavy handed, the story is gripping and scary, a warning of how sometimes the past catches up to the future.
The future of terrorism may be in the realm of the invisible, bombs of viruses that kill billions, in the wrong hands. Heady and hard food for thought.