Child Zero

Hachette Audio. May 2022. 10:07 hrs. ISBN 9781668604649. $25.98. SF
Global warming causes Siberian permafrost to melt, releasing previously unknown diseases that are immune to antibiotics and causing worldwide outbreaks. Then a member of the radical group Soldiers of Gaia commits what comes to be known as the 8/17 Attack when a highly infectious, deadly contagion is released in Manhattan, causing the death of millions. After this setup, listeners expecting a Robin Cook–style medical thriller will be surprised to find they are then treated to a somewhat generic cop drama involving a detective named Jake who becomes aware of a boy named Mat who has an ability to heal people just by being around them. Everyone wants Mat, including the corrupt government and the Soldiers of Gaia. Jake and his friends must protect and hide the boy from those who wish to use him as a pawn. Robert Petkoff narrates at a brisk, urgent pace and is equally good at portraying male and female characters of all ages. Chapters are short and Petkoff keeps things moving.
VERDICT Despite the slight letdown of the exciting beginning evolving into a procedural style story, the latest from Holm (Red Right Hand) will be popular with fans of the Bourne adventures.
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