Monday, January 5, 2015

The White Plague (Joe Rush #1) by James Abel (Review)

Adult, Action,Thriller, Military
Publication.Date  January 6th 2015
Published By:  Berkley Hardcover 
AuthorJames Abel

White Plague on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher via First to Read in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

In the frozen waters of the Arctic, Marine bioterror expert Joe Rush races to save a submarine crew from a lethal threat...

“The pleas for help stopped coming just after five in the morning, Washington time. The Pentagon staffers cleared for handling sensitive messages sat in horror for a moment and then tried other ways to reach the victims. Nothing worked so they called the Director, who phoned me.”

In the remote, frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean, the high-powered and technically advanced submarine U.S.S. Montana is in peril. Adrift and in flames, the boat—and the entire crew—could be lost. The only team close enough to get to them in time is led by Marine doctor and bio-terror expert Joe Rush.

With only thirty-six hours before the surviving crew perish, Joe and his team must race to rescue the Montana and ensure that the boat doesn’t fall into enemy hands. Because a fast-approaching foreign submarine is already en route, and tensions may explode.

But that’s the least of their troubles. For the surviving sailors are not alone on the sub. Something is trapped with them. Something deadly lethal. Something that plagued mankind long ago, when it devastated the entire world. And the crew of the Montana has unknowingly set it free. Now, Joe and his team must not only find a way to save the Montana and her crew, but stop a lethal horror of apocalyptic consequence from being unleashed on all humanity.

My name is Joe Rush and you won't find a description of my real job in my dossier at the Marine Corps.
"Just what kind of doctor are you anyway?"
The kind who treats worst-case scenarios.

     A marine doctor and bio-terror expert with a tragic past, Joe Rush, is charged with a mission that may just prove to be his last - and not only because he's about to retire. A technologically advanced sub, U.S.S. Montana, is stuck in the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean - its crew plagued by a disease of the deadliest kind. With the Chinese subway approaching fast, not only the crew is in a great danger, but the top-secret technology could be lost to the foreign power. Time is running out quick, odds are stacking up against Joe Rush and his quickly assembled rescue team - will they get there on time? And if they do, will they be able to save the U.S.S. Montana, or will it be too late? 

     This was a tremendously interesting read. Not at all a one-dimensional thriller, but an ambitious and well-written multi-genre mash-up of the most captivating kind. I enjoyed it more than I expected and will definitely be picking up the next books in the series. An eloquent, meticulously researched (especially the military and political aspects of the story) high-intensity ride for fans of Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible and The Last Ship.

     I picked this book up for two reasons: 1) I am a sucker for stories dealing with outbreaks, deadly viruses, plagues and other such things and 2) I like extreme settings, isolated locations and places that are just as dangerous adversaries as diseases or bad people. The White Plague delivered on both fronts. 

     The writing was extremely easy and pleasant to read - something I wasn't expecting from a story dealing with military and political aspects of International relations, disease outbreaks, corruption and treachery. I was positively surprised by how quickly I became immersed in the story. The pacing was very good and the story flowed almost effortlessly, and before I knew it, I was reading the final chapters. Which brings me to the next point - the ending. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed by the conclusion of the story. It was not a bad ending per se, it just lacked the tension and excitement of the preceding chapters. It felt like something merely washed ashore; an afterthought of the story. And, considering the cleverly devised, intrigue-filled, action-fueled plot line and its flawless execution, the ending left me feeling dissatisfied and wanting more. 

     That being said, I stand by my word - I am looking forward to the next volume and can't wait to meet Joe Rush again.

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