From Publisher's Weekly

Humanity's very existence is at stake in this latest hair-raiser by Perdue (Daughter of God, Forge 2000), a no-holds-barred biogenetic thriller. Lara Blackwood, founder of GenIntron, a company devoted to gene manipulation as a method of fighting genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia, is a tough hybrid of brilliant scientist, beauty and fighter. As the novel begins, GenIntron has been forced into economic difficulty and bought by the internationally powerful Japanese Daiwa Ichiban Corporation and its racist head, Tokutaro Kurata. In his first move, Kurata perverts Blackwood's work by creating a new genetic weapon, graphically named Slatewiper, with which he intends to rid Tokyo of its hated Korean immigrants. Thousands of dead Koreans fill the streets, and puzzled doctors postulate a new and unknown disease. Kurata dreams of reviving Japanese militarism, refusing to acknowledge defeat in WWII and denying the horrifying Japanese atrocities of that war and earlier Asian wars. He plans to sell the deadly gene to nations wishing to eliminate their own minorities, or for use against enemies, while plotting to promote Japanese superiority and racial purity. Aiding Kurata is Blackwood's nemesis, Sheila Gaillard, as beautiful and brilliant as Blackwood and altogether deadly, and Kurata's nephew and heir, American-taught Akira Sugawara, loyal but finally driven to rebellion by the horrors he witnesses. In the light of current medical epidemics, this is a timely offering. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Perdue (Daughter of God, 2000, etc.), a former investigative reporter who specialized in recovery of art missing in Europe, turns to bio-ethics and DNA analysis. Molecular geneticist Lara Blackwood, cofounder and CEO of GenIntron, a bioengineering lab, is an entrepreneur who develops new disease treatments with synthetic genes made from junk DNA in the human genome. When Tokyo is hit hard by a supermysterious, fast-acting "Korean disease" universally fatal to its victims, Lara, fired from GenIntron by its new parent company in Japan, Daiwan Ichiban, is taken on by the White House as presidential aide in genetic development. As it happens, not a single Japanese, only the detested Koreans in Tokyo’s Korean ghetto, die of the Korean Leprosy in the test run of an ethnic bioweapon that focuses the disease on people bearing Korean genes. The Slatewiper, whose synthetic gene reduces people to slime and then into a bloodburst, is the weapon by which Daiwan Ichiban’s top gun Tokutaru Kurata means to purify Japan of foreigners and boost fervent nationalism. The Saudis want GenIntron to formulate a bug that will kill all Jews in Israel, while actual production of the materials will be in Japan at Daiwan Ichiban. The president himself, apparently fearful of Tokutaru Kurata, warns Lara off from pursuing the source of the Korean Leprosy. But Lara has won two Olympic medals and begun a solo round-the-world sail, is tall for a woman, a martial-arts adept, and not to be dissuaded by a mere president. Clearly, the day must come when she goes man-to-man with Sheila Gaillard, the bad guys’ hugely vicious and skillful hit woman who murders one by one all of Lara’s scientific helpers as Lara works undercover to unearth a bio-weapon for which she is partly responsible. And not even Sheila having her face splashed with frozen hydrogen can stop her. Rich research for science/action thrills.

From Booklist

In Tokyo, a particularly violent and deadly plague has broken out. Inexplicably, it seems as if the virus only uses Koreans as its carrier. Enter Lara Blackwood, a genetic engineer recruited to fight this virus that somehow piggybacks itself on people with specific genetic characteristics. Ejected from her own company, Lara sees in this investigation her chance to get herself back in the research game, but she doesn't count on uncovering a genetic weapon of unimaginable power, a weapon that appears to have its origins in her own work. Like the high-tech medical thrillers of Michael Crichton, this novel deftly combines hard science and narrative panache. Perdue has crafted a story that grips the reader's imagination: Can this be real? Is it possible for such a weapon to exist? Remarkably, Perdue unflinchingly treads on Crichton's turf but emerges with a novel that feels fresh and original. A must for medical-thriller devotees. David Pitt Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Tucson Citizen, Larry Cox

In this high-tech medical thriller, we follow Lewis Perdue's main character, Lara Blackwood, a genetic engineering entrepreneur. As people begin to die in Tokyo from a flesh-rotting type of leprosy, she realizes a coverup is in place to keep the severity of the plague under wraps. When she arrives in Japan to study the emergency, she realizes that the research she had dedicated her life to has been perverted and it is being used as a genetic weapon. If you like the crisp, taut writing style of yes-this-could-really-happen Michael Crichton, you'll love this book told against the historical backdrop that the human race has come close to extinction several times in the past. Think Black Plague. Slatewipers are lethal strains of pestilence that are capable - if left unchecked - of wiping the human slate clean. At a time when bioweapons designers are, indeed, capable of developing genetically engineered killer life-forms, this new book is especially timely and chilling. Perdue, who has studied biology and biophysics at Cornell University, lives in California and has written at least two previous best sellers. His latest novel is fact-based fiction that is gripping, suspenseful and highly readable.Copyright © Tucson Citizen. All rights reserved

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