Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: The Demon in the Freezer

Preston's masterpiece collects some of the most important characters and ideas in the past century of infectious disease and combines them into a very readable, engrossing novel that almost makes you forget you're reading nonfiction.

For me, the world of using disease as a weapon was a very abstract concept just a few months ago. I knew that it had been done before, it has the potential to kill lots of people, it's not allowed, and it is very bad. I'd heard about the anthrax cases earlier this decade, and evidently I didn't pick up very much from what I heard.

"Demon in the Freezer" effectively takes these concepts and stuffs them into very real, relatable characters whose dialogue and inner thoughts provide much more insight into the field of infectious disease than what one normally receives from a 30-second report on the evening news.

Lisa Hensley, one of the main characters, particularly sticks out in my mind. Her very human feelings allow us to easily connect with a person in a field that we usually don't see. She eats Lean Cuisine. She worries about her significant other while at work. I've been doing a lot of reading on virology and infectious disease, and the change to a more personal explanation of the topic is absolutely refreshing.

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