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About this Item
Title: Judgment Day
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, NY
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Cloth and Boards
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Edition: First Edition.
About this title
Judgment Day is a brilliant medical/legal thriller that dares to explore the unthinkable: an AIDS vaccine even more virulent than the disease and a drug company willing to kill to conceal it.
When attorney Jon Patchett is asked by Weber BioTech to look into the apparent suicide of one of its researchers, Alexander Tomlin, the young lawyer knows the stakes are high: Weber fears the death will affect FDA approval of its new AIDS vaccine, Prohiva - approval that could save millions of lives and make millions of dollars. But Jon and his legal assistant, Anne Matheson, have no idea that they are about to uncover a diabolical plot more chilling than the fictional nightmare visions created by Robin Cook or the real-life headline-capturing ravages of viruses like Ebola.
As Jon and Anne begin their investigation, they know that Weber is intent on making sure that nothing - including Tomlin's death - will interfere with the approval process. But the discovery of unexplained notes buried in boxes of documents, and then the death of Tomlin's secretary and lover, start them on a journey that leads to BioTech's laboratory in the southwest desert. There, they learn the truth: the company's top-secret Prohiva research included an experiment in human testing that has gone disastrously amok. And the pharmaceutical company is silently eliminating the victims to protect the secret.
With the lies surrounding the vaccine beginning to unravel, Jon and Anne stumble into a race against time as Weber executives, in a frantic effort to eliminate all the evidence of their deadly research, close in on them...
Predictable but carefully drawn genre-surfing bio-thriller featuring an affectionate portrait of Minnesota and southwestern scenery--all in a first novel crowded with odd characters and bloody incidents. When top pharmaceutical scientist Alexander Tomlin crashes through his 11th floor office window, only Jon Patchett, a hard- drinking, world-weary lawyer, wonders if Tomlin jumped or was pushed. Tomlin was working on the oddly named Prohiva, an HIV vaccine that is nearing what the drug industry calls judgment day (full approval from the FDA). Because Patchett's firm represents Weber BioTech, the Minneapolis drug company behind Prohiva, Patchett is ordered to conduct discreet inquiries, if only to make sure that nothing happens to affect the drug's approval. Patchett becomes romantically drawn to his coolly competent paralegal assistant Anne Matheson; the two discover a cover-up in Weber's Arizona drug development lab. Meanwhile, a handful of middle and underclass types, such as de rigueur noir prostitute Maggie Washburn, are being hunted down and killed before their nagging coughs develop into virulent cases of AIDS. Add to this a pathetically perverse serial killer named the Barber, who strangles female joggers and then clips their hair. Is it a coincidence that one of the Barber's victims was Tomlin's lover, Rebecca Cartaway? Or has the author tried to pack too many genre conventions into his tale? This first novel becomes Hillermanesque as action shifts to the Arizona desert, where a dreamy Navajo child and a guilt-ridden physician help Patchett and Washburn reveal how a hideously dangerous batch of the drug has escaped laboratory controls. Reinken escapes his burdensome kitchen-sink plot with convincing glimpses of industry insiders and just-plain-folks affected by the reckless pursuit of profits. Overplotted legal/medical/psychokiller/city vs. Navajo desert whodunit, with better-than-average characterization, a more reasoned take on medical research than Robin Cook's, and a reluctant lawyer hero who, thankfully, doesn't sleep with his clients. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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