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Coffey's latest is a fast-paced, impeccably plotted story with a terrifyingly credible premise. It's not overly graphic, but it's not for the fainthearted either.

A cluster of unexplained deaths in Maine has government officials wondering if the United States is under biological attack -- and if Dr. Rahaf Banaz, who worked on a similar bacterial strain during Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq, could be responsible. Austyn Newman, a senior scientist attached to Homeland Security, is sent to a top-secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan to question her.

It doesn't take Austyn long to get the taciturn prisoner talking -- or to discover that she isn't Rahaf Banaz at all but her sister, Fahimah. Securing Fahimah's release -- and promise to help him find Rahaf -- is just the start of Austyn's journey. Meanwhile, more Americans are dying all across the country. Can Austyn and Faas Hanlon, a Homeland Security agent, find the answers before the contagion spreads? (MIRA, Jan., 400 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer