Uncaged by Paul McKellips (NY: Vantage Point, 2011). Review copy provided by author.
Animal rights activists are conspiring to shut down biomedical research in the United States just as terrorists have weaponized the bubonic plague with the help of Russian and Korean interests. Two military officers who are themselves medical researchers, "Camp" Campbell and Leslie Raines, reluctantly join forces to thwart the terrorists and reinstate animal research before a deadly flu virus can kill thousands of Americans. With help from a crack team, Camp and Raines must investigate an intricate web of international alliances to uncover the truth.
No doubt about it, this is an extremely complicated novel, not just because it deals with politics, espionage, and medicine, but because it's spread out all over the world--the U.S., Algeria, Korea, Japan, Russia, and Costa Rica, to name a few locales. Because of all the various threads that have to come together, the story jumps around a lot through the first half, and it's a bit hard to follow. There's a lot of political shenanigans and shady dealings, some of them less than believable. It seems highly unlikely, for instance, that all animal research could be suspended by an executive order of the US President. Many of the characters seem more like types than real characters, including the main characters. However, since the novel focuses more on action than individuals that may be fine for most readers, especially those who like military types, such as Clancy fans. The second half of the novel really picks up the pace and becomes truly compelling. Overall, Uncaged is a highly readable medical thriller.
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