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The Pandora Deception
The WMD Files #4
BY David Bruns and J. R. Olson

St. Martin’s Press
September 15, 2020/ ISBN 9781250200334
Mystery/Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

AMAZON

The Pandora Deception by David Bruns and J. R. Olson is extremely relevant to today’s issues. The authors must have a strong crystal ball because their book has the threat of a virus brought on by a bioterrorist attack. Sound familiar to Covid-19?

J. R. noted, "As a career intelligence officer, I am least worried about chemical weapons of all the possible WMDs. For me, it is always the biological threats, which are the most terrifying. Man is able to manipulate them if they wish to do so. The idea behind this story is that there is now the ability to create a lethal biological weapon by using a man-made virus like Ebola that has an 80% mortality rate and pairing it up with another virus. This can be devastating. We called it Pandora. Compare that to the mortality rate of Covid-19, which is about a 1.5% death rate. Scientists are able to target large populations, and this is a terrifying idea."

Furthermore, David feels, "Any other weapon, chemical or nuclear, is launched against a person or persons. But bioweapons take every person it affects and turns that person into a weapon with an exponential spread. We wanted people to realize if a virus gets out in the air and someone breathes it into their lungs, they can unleash it because it is transferred from one person to another."

This fourth book in the series brings back all the characters from the last novel. Don Riley is asked to head a new team, called Emerging Threats. Their mission is to anticipate, rather than react to, threats against the US. He recruits the talented mid-shipmen that previously helped him: Michael Goodwin, Janet Everett, and Andrea Ramirez, now, all commissioned officers. They uncover a new terrorist group, going under the name of the Mahdi, a messiah figure of Islamic mythology, and is operating in the geopolitical tinderbox that is the Nile River basin. But even worse, the group is working with Jean-Pierre Manzul, CEO of Reconda Genetics. He is secretly building an underground lab where a bioweapon known as Pandora is being developed with a devastating fatality rate. They are testing it on remote villages, which are covered up by separate terrorist incidents that are claimed by the Mahdi.

Using their personal experiences, Bruns, a retired submarine officer, and Olson, former naval intelligence, create realistic and gripping scenarios, and this story is no different.

Reviewed 2020
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