The Deep Zone

James M. Tabor. Ballantine, $26 (432p) ISBN 978-0-345-53061-5
In Tabor’s first novel, a routine near-future medical thriller, a new, lethal, and contagious bacterial infection has reached the U.S. through stricken American soldiers wounded in Afghanistan shipped home. To the rescue comes Dr. Hallie Leland, who was forced to resign from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to avoid criminal charges that she sold government secrets. Before her unceremonious ouster, Leland was close to creating a superantibiotic from an extreme organism she recovered from a Mexican cave. With disaster looming, she and her team enter the lawless area of Mexico where the cave is located, to retrieve more of the organism in a Hail Mary effort to stop the killer bacteria. Readers should be prepared for stock, often implausible action sequences underground. Despite the author’s considerable experience with deep-cave exploration (he’s the co-creator of the History Channel’s Journey to the Center of the World), Tabor fails to make the best use of that expertise. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2012
Release date: 04/03/2012
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