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The Demon in the Freezer | [Richard Preston]

The Demon in the Freezer

"This book will give you nightmares," cautions The New York Times. Richard Preston takes us inside the ongoing war against bioterrorism, investigating the anthrax attacks of October 2001 and the potential for a future bio-attack using smallpox or, worse yet, a new superpox virus resistant to all vaccines. "As exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers," says Publishers Weekly.
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Publisher's Summary

The first major bioterror event in the United States - the anthrax attacks in October 2001 - was a clarion call for scientists who work with "hot" agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at USAMRIID, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top-secret information of bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox - and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers - at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.

USAMRIID went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government's response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

©2002 Richard Preston; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This book will give you nightmares. Preston...turns a story about science and medicine into a theme-park ride of a thriller." (The New York Times)
"As exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (430 )
5 star
 (190)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.3 (202 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (204 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    teresa 04-02-12
    teresa 04-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dull"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If there was more of a story. I felt like I was reading facts from a textbook, or, I should write, I felt as though I were reading a textbook where the author was trying to make boring material more interesting. I work at NIH, so maybe I am starting to get science overload.


    Has The Demon in the Freezer turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I read,


    What didn’t you like about Paul Boehmer’s performance?

    The performance was okay, just kind of droned on.... Mr. Boehmer has read other books, and I have enjoyed those performances, I think this one was a bit of a dud.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, the facts were there - data about, and descriptions of different types of communicative diseases. I couldn't stick with the book through the end, though.


    Any additional comments?

    This book just seemed like a contract filler to me, or someone's good idea not properly thought out. Maybe the publisher had the author commit to another book after the first one did so well and there just wasn't enough juice to keep it up to an interesting level. If you're looking for information about contagious illnesses, viruses in particular, how they're handled in the lab and field, how the scientists look for natural sources (vectors) of disease, then this is the book for you. If you're looking for more of a STORY with progression from beginning to middle to end, then forget it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peter 02-12-10
    peter 02-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    69
    20
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    0
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    Overall
    "its ok"

    Parts are VERY good and parts are not good. We get a mix here. This author can do better than this. Just a so so book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RHONDA LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 03-10-08
    RHONDA LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    71
    2
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    "Great Book"

    I never realized how dangerous was Smallpox. Very frightening!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L 02-11-08
    L 02-11-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    97
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    REVIEWS
    210
    47
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    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "eyes wide open"

    every one who wants to really know the world around them should read this book; it will open your eyes. absolutely frightening but necessary knowledge.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Memphis, TN, USA 12-21-07
    Richard Memphis, TN, USA 12-21-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    0
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    "Disappointing"

    This book is disappointing if you bought it because you were interested in the 2001 Anthrax attacks. Chances are, that you already know more than was revealed in this book. This book is about small pox. It is obvious that the few words about the anthrax attack were an afterthought to sell a book that might otherwise not have been published.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 06-14-07
    Diana 06-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    56
    19
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    "Frightening"

    Richard Preston has done it again. This book is scarier than Hot Zone by a longshot. Great Book and great narration! Out of five stars? I really would give it 10

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Braintree, MA, United States 02-07-04
    Elizabeth Braintree, MA, United States 02-07-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    8
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    Overall
    "Yikes!"

    I've enjoyed Preston's other fact-based thrillers like the Hot Zone. This one continues the biological threat theme in great style. Well-told, great details, holds your attention. Scary story about the real-life threat of smallpox and anthrax. Graphic descriptions not for the faint of heart (or stomach)!
    The reader's voice projects well and is clear even over road noise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon West Hartford, CT, USA 11-21-03
    Jon West Hartford, CT, USA 11-21-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
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    63
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Very Entertaining. Bravo; Thank You"

    The narrator is clear, understandable and pleasant to hear. The book is gripping, a non-stop thrill. It's an example of when the truth is scarier, more bizarre and more entrancing than fiction. Certain sections seems to repeat, however, on my iPod and I question whether it works properly

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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