St. Martin's, Feb 2011, $27.99
American President James Allaire begins the annual State of the Union address. Small containers explode releasing a viral WRX3883. Over seven hundred people inside the House Chamber are infected by the toxin. The impact is disastrous as those hurt include the President, leaders of Congress, the Vice President, the Supreme Court judges, and cabinet leaders. Allaire takes charge of inside the chamber, locking it down.
The Director of the Department of Homeland Security is the selected “survivor” who remained in Minnesota during the calamitous speech. He is the leading government official outside of the quarantine zone. As the country seeks a cure for the infections disease, a domestic terrorist group Genesis on the “Fourth Day” demands the repeal of the Patriot Act and the end of surveillance on Americans or further terrorist acts will follow. Allaire led the WRX3883 virus development team and knows who he must turn to for help. Virologist Griffin Rhodes who is designated as a terrorist under the Patriot Act was placed in solitary confinement although he has no idea why he was locked away in a maximum federal pen.
Though over the top of the Capital Building as the Genesis motive along with their insiders seem inane for even an extreme group, Heartbeat Away is an exciting action-packed biological terrorist thriller. Fast-paced, readers who can ignore the plausibility of key events and linear characterizations will enjoy Michael Palmer’s entertaining State of the Union.