Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





by Robert Liparulo

Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

"Germ will grab you by the collar, and won't let go until you read the end of its roller coaster ride."

In a stunning follow-up to last year’s pulse-pounding thriller Comes A Horseman, Robert Liparulo’s new thriller Germ brings to life the all too real specter of biological warfare in an epic storyline that reads much like The Stand meets The Bourne Supremacy. While Comes A Horseman was an enjoyable, solid first entry for Liparulo – portraying realistic characters laboring under harrowing conditions – Germ is a true work of art. From the moment Special Agent Goodwin Donnelley’s car barrels down a highway under hails of bullets, the action is relentless. However, the timing is near perfect. Just when it seems too much, too fast, the pace slows; the reader and characters catch their breaths….

…and the bullets start flying once again.

An old, bitter grudge has brought the world to the brink of destruction. A virulent strain of Ebola has been designed that’s not only deadly and fast acting, but can also target specific individuals based on their DNA makeup. The implications are astounding: anyone anywhere is at the mercy of a virus tailor-made for their genetic blueprint.

The threats are manifold: those on the “list” are doomed to die painful, bloody deaths as their organs liquefy inside of them. Those who have learned of this new bio-weapon are hunted by a mysterious, deadly assassin that not only seems omniscient and omnipresent, but able to resurrect himself from death. The clues are there, buried on a microchip smuggled into the U.S., but will Special Agents Julia Matheson and Goodwin Donnelley unravel its mysteries in time to save thousands of lives, or will bio-terrorism destroy what we know of the world, leaving in its wake thousands of deaths and a new world order – based on fear and the mercurial whims of man driven mad by grief?

Robert Liparulo has taken a very realistic threat and crafted a story that ranks right up there with any of Robert Ludlum’s novels. The dialogue is real, the characters painstakingly crafted, and it’s not hard to see this projected onto the big screen in a Hollywood adaptation – maybe with Ron Pearlman, (Hellboy, Blade III: Trinity), as the reluctant pastor turned combatant Stephen, and Ashley Scott, (who certainly proved her action-chops and stunt abilities on the WB’s short-lived Birds of Prey), as Special Agent Matheson.

Most importantly, Germ – like many recent CBA (Christian Bookseller Association) releases, embodies what “faith fiction” should be: an excellently written and crafted work of fiction that adheres to a sense of moral values, realistic and accessible to all yet at the same time inoffensive for a Christian to read. Germ will grab you by the collar, and won’t let go until you reach the end of its roller coaster ride.

Kevin LuciaKevin Lucia Kevin Lucia writes for The Press & Sun Bulletin and The Relief Journal. His short fiction has appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner, The Relief Journal, All Hallows, Darkened Horizons Vol. 3 & 4, NexGen Pulp Magazine Issues 1 & 4, From the Shadows, Morpheus Tales Magazine, Bohemian-Alien, Shroud Publishing’s horror anthology, Abominations, and Tyndale House’s inspirational anthology Life Savors. He’s currently writing a novella for Shroud Publishing’s upcoming novella series, The Hiram Grange Chronicles. He resides in Castle Creek, New York, with his wife Abby, daughter Madison and son Zackary. He teaches high school English at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, New York; and is finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Visit him at his website and Myspace page.