Cold Plague: Not Exactly a Cure for Hot Summer Days

It might not be the best idea to post about Cold Plague by Daniel Kalla after having eaten a gorgeously medium, well-seasoned NY Strip last night.  But oh well.  I have 8 books to post about, and I need to start somewhere.

Cold Plague begins in Antarctica where a team of French scientists have managed to tap into a lake 2 miles under the ice that supposedly contains the purest water on earth, water that might contain healing properties.   Maybe this water could be bottled and sold for exorbitant amounts?!?!  The action then shifts to France where WHO doctors Haldane and McLeod have been summoned to explore a Mad Cow outbreak in a rural part of France.  Cows have not only tested positive for the deadly prion but there have also been several deaths ostensibly from eating the infected meat.  The problem is that these deaths occur much faster than those infected in previous Mad Cow outbreaks.  Much doesn’t add up.  The EU Agricultural Commission sends their own representative to join the doctors on their investigation.  Is there a connection between the water from the Antarctic lake and the deaths in France?   Will I ever eat steak again? 

This book feels like Kalla wrote it in about two or three days.  It contains an interesting germ of an idea, but it was shoddily developed.  It took too long to reach a resolution, and the climax wasn’t shocking at all.  By the time it comes, frankly, you don’t care because the villains are so stupid (especially since one of them is a biologist who should know better).  A police detective is awkwardly injected into the plot, and somehow her son becomes involved.  It takes forever for her to get together with the WHO doctors and compare notes.  And there was way too much emphasis on the personal lives and feelings of the characters.  I think it was Kalla’s attempt to flesh out his characters, but it seemed artificial.  The book overall just seemed cold and clinical when it could and should have been terrifying…mad cow, our conscipulously consumptive society and lust for over-priced bottled water, the poisoning of the food/water supply…

This is Kalla’s second book featuring doctors Haldane and McLeod, and apparently Pandemic, the first book is much better (though I haven’t read it).  His other books are supposed to be better too.

So, this book was ehhhhhh.  It wasn’t thrilling at all.  It had potential, but unfortunately, it didn’t.  And hell yes I will keep eating steak.  And I like tap water just fine thank you very much.


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