Child Zero

Child Zero – Chris Holm

In the not too distant future, our antibiotics have become useless and once treatable infections have again become deadly. With the world reeling, a bioterrorism attack is unleashed in New York City leaving countless dead.

Detective Jake Gibson was one of the many who lost a loved one on 8/17. Now years later, with his wife gone, Jake is trying to hold it all together when his daughter falls ill and he is called to the scene of a mass murder in Central Park. Even more shocking than the piles of charred bodies was the fact that the victims were all in perfect health when they met their end. Is there a possible way to heal his ailing daughter Zoe?

I’m going to get this out of the way immediately – when this book hits shelves in May, you need to race to your local bookstore and grab a copy.

Already an award-winning author himself, it’s Chris Holm’s experience as a molecular biologist that gives this book an air of authenticity that could otherwise be fumbled in the hands of another. Above all else, while this book could easily fall into a trap of seemingly endless info dumps and scientific jargon, Chris keeps things moving swiftly and clearly while never once leaving me lost in all the complicated nature of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

While Child Zero excels at the “why”, enough can’t be said of these big action sequences that populate the story. Child Zero reads like the literary equivalent of a standalone big budget summer blockbuster movie that simply isn’t made anymore (well, MCU aside); something that we could use more of. You really feel the urgency on the part of the characters to accomplish their goals while maintaining a sense of grounded reality.

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of Child Zero is that a scenario like this is entirely possible and could easily happen within our lifetime. Hell, I’m reading and reviewing this during a pandemic right now! In Chris’ novel, the worst of the infected had been quarantined inside of a shantytown within Central Park while affluent neighborhoods in Manhattan push through as if nothing is happening. If that isn’t a direct comparison to the vaccine hoarding of the first world, I’m not sure what is.

Child Zero is not only a thrilling novel, but an urgent warning about our future and the dire consequences we all face if nothing is done to alter the course.

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