cover image 13 Days to Die

13 Days to Die

Matt Miksa. Crooked Lane, $26.99 ISBN 978-1-64385-655-1

Former FBI intelligence analyst Miksa’s energetic debut opens with a pair of teasing, overheated scenes: a delirious man stumbles into a teahouse in a Tibetan village, vomits blood into his cup of tea, and dies; a week later in Vienna, an American businessman called Big Tex pays an Austrian geneticist for the formula for a virulent avian influenza. The real action gets underway in Beijing, where virologist Zhou “Jo” Weilin explains in a briefing to China’s Politburo Standing Committee that a foreigner has been identified as Patient Zero in a deadly viral outbreak in Tibet. He’s believed to be a Taiwanese spy on a mission to use a bioweapon to undermine the rulers of Mainland China. Big Tex, who’s in fact Olen Grave, an intelligence officer in a Pentagon agency that specializes in protecting America from biological agents, is given a cover as a journalist and sent to accompany Jo to Tibet. Olen and Jo must do what they can to prevent a world war. The twisty, complex plot makes up for purple prose that sometimes slows things down. This timely thriller is worth checking out. Agent: Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, McIntosh & Otis. (Mar.)