As part of my reading, I like coming back to my favorite authors, of which A.G. Riddle is one. I’ve read and enjoyed his trilogy The Origin Mystery and his stand-alone novel Departure. Both were well written, action-packed, and contained enough near-term, hard science fiction concepts to keep my imagination engaged. Pandemic was the next A.G. Riddle work to make its way onto my reading list.
Pandemic was a bit different than the earlier Riddle works I’ve read. It’s a little less science fiction based. It’s more of a straight-up action novel. The book explores what happens when an Ebola-based virus is discovered in central Africa and quickly spreads. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) mobilize quickly to contain the outbreak, but their resources are quickly overwhelmed by the immensity of the crisis. As with all Riddle books, there are a number of plot twists, a few historical tie-ins, and a mystery dynamic that will keep you guessing.
As with other Riddle books, Pandemic takes a little time to get going while he builds the characters and back story. Once these are in place, the pace of the book and action pick up in the second half. What impressed me about the book was the amount of research that Riddle put into it. The style of outbreak, the coordination of resources, the response, it all makes the story feel quite plausible and very real, almost too real. In fact, it may even scare you a bit, similar to a horror movie.
Pandemic isn’t a Must Read for me, but it is a good, fun read. It is classic A.G. Riddle and definitely worth reading if you’re a fan of Riddle’s other books. If you really like the book, there is a second book in The Extinction Files, Genome. I’m going to pass on it for now but may come back to it later. I just have too many other interesting books on my reading list right now that I’m looking forward to reading.
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