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Publisher's Summary

In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them. He particularly knows that strict isolation is the only guaranteed way to protect his family from the new disease.

With his family and home prepared for an extended period of seclusion, Alex has few real concerns about the growing pandemic. But as the deadliest pandemic in human history ravages northern New England, and starts to unravel the fabric of their Maine neighborhood, he starts to realize that the flu itself is the least of his problems.

A mounting scarcity of food and critical supplies turns most of the neighbors against him, and Alex is forced to confront their unexpected hostility before it goes too far. Just when he thinks it can't get any worse, the very face of human evil arrives on Durham Rd and threatens to destroy them all. Alex and his few remaining friends band together to protect the neighborhood from a threat far deadlier than the flu, as they edge closer to the inevitable confrontation that will test the limits of their humanity.

©2010 Steven Konkoly (P)2012 Sunny Day Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Christina
  • NUTLEY, NJ, United States
  • 12-05-13

By The Numbers Plague Story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The story is direct and on-the-nose. The protagonist jumps to a bunch of conclusions which always turn out to be right. And the relationships are paper-thin and based on quips and jibes. Despite these complaints, the story works because the topic is compelling. But I think this could be stronger if the characters were more human and fallible.

Has The Jakarta Pandemic turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Which scene was your favorite?

No one scene stands out. Just the overall sense of foreboding.

Do you think The Jakarta Pandemic needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

Any additional comments?

I was turned off by the lame binary of poor refugees = violent and dangerous, rich refugees = good people. It almost read like a fever dream of a New Orleans suburbanite after Hurricane Katrina. Oh noes -- here comes the poors, man the barricades!

Also, the characters were two-dimensional. The main guy (a generic name I don't recall a day after finishing audiobook), basically quips his way through life with his (harpy) wife and (conveniently absent) kids.

And it was very convenient the guy was a plague prepper -- he basically planned for the exact situation that unfolded. Though I guess there are such people in the world.

There is also a queer attention to needless detail. We get details about appliances, furniture, meals, etc. At times, it almost seemed like parody.

Three-quarters of the way through the book, I thought it might be an unreliable narrator, who was killing innocent people because he was tied to his own warped preconceptions. But that was not the case. There are no twists in this story -- it lays out a premise, and it unfolds exactly as advertised.

This all sounds negative, but I will say I enjoyed the yarn. It appeals to the worries that keep you up at night. The idea that society can unravel, without the leap of faith required for zombie or supernatural apocalypse tales.

A good story, so long as you keep your expectations in check.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kim
  • Sanctuary Point
  • 11-06-13

Thought provoking

What made the experience of listening to The Jakarta Pandemic the most enjoyable?

The explanation and detail the author goes into with his preparation and the narration

What other book might you compare The Jakarta Pandemic to and why?

Hard question. The stand (unabridged) comes to mind as Stephen King writes with the same detail.

Which character – as performed by Joseph Morton – was your favorite?

The husband an his foresight influenced by his occupation.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think the ending (read it as I wont give it away)

Any additional comments?

The fact the family wasn't a group of gun nuts and had a well thought out (in my opinion) range of self defence firearms.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Annoying Main Character, Predictable Plot

Alex, the protagonist, is an incredibly annoying know-it-all who tells people (rather than suggests) what actions they should take as if they were small children.

The "evil" to be battled in this story is hardly explained or examined, other than the most basic knowledge of how to treat it and whatnot. With a little research, the author could have made the illness a far more menacing presence.

The characters in the book simply accept that a dangerous pandemic is on the march, which we've seen from past disasters would not be the case with real human beings.

There would be many who dismissed warnings as scare tactics on the part of "Big Pharma" to sell them medicine, others who would drum up and believe their own conspiracies about the government, etc. People would still be denying there was a problem even as those around them became ill, just as they do when a hurricane has just begun the process of drowning their city and they still refuse to leave their homes.

We've not only seen these people; research using fMRI demonstrates that there are human beings who are neurologically hard-wired in a way that leaves them unable to accept what is right in front of their faces, in a way that causes them to deny reality no matter how much evidence is presented to them, and causes them to cling to beliefs any rational person would recognize as inaccurate.

The kids in the story don't go nuts and misbehave as any normal children would, even those who are usually very well behaved, while spending so much time constricted in their activities.

That the characters were so unrealistic after reading the glowing reviews was, unfortunately, the only thing about this book that wasn't predictable. Everything else was.

If you're looking for a macho fantasy about how you would save your family during a crisis and be a hero in your little neighborhood (at least in your own mind -- if you were as patronizing as Alex, nobody would want to hang out with you), you'll probably like this book.

If you're looking for a smart book in which the author doesn't ostensibly assume the reader is mentally deficient, provides a realistic idea of what it would be like to live through a crisis, you want to know the science and the details, etc. you'll want to skip this.

It's not the very worst book I've read (hence the two star rating), but it's not good either.




2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • TKW
  • SLC,UT
  • 09-07-13

Scary Concept, Likely True

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

My time was mostly well spent because the concept of the story is timely, engaging and quite frightening as a peek into what may be our immediate future when a major crisis of any kind occurs. At times, however, the book reads like a copy of a survival manual and how to organize your food storage for a year in the basement. This caused the story to lose momentum and interest. The ideas kept me going long enough to wade through the pedantic material to see what happens next in the neighborhood.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Once people began fleeing from the cities and attempting to immigrate into suburban neighborhoods to forage, steal and kill, this finally became an action novel. Those scenarios were highly believable and thus, compelling. The central characters grew on me-- eventually. The pace of the story just keeps getting mired in mundane descriptions...we get "it" right away and then yawn through language that seems from a tech. manual.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator was better than many...like the book, the narrator seems to warm to the story after he finishes reading the survival manual lists, recipes, rotating your supplies, locking up your supplies....truly dull and overdone...fast forward unless you are planning to stock your bunker, in which case those sections will be of interest in building your shopping list before the stores go under.

Could you see The Jakarta Pandemic being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Too draggy to be a good movie. The script writer would really have to clip this down and refocus on giving the audience a feeling of nervous immediacy AND urgency, coupled with a "this could happen to you." It definitely could happen...but the book does not create urgency. It could be a very good movie if the pacing was cleaned up, fast, unpredictable and the story both moved along and moved the audience (capable of doing that, needs re-write). Matt Damon, of course.

Any additional comments?

This is a good effort...the story is plausible, which kept me going. The story is thoughtful as to how rapidly we become tribal and territorial in crisis. It is truthful that in crisis of this nature people do become caught between the moral imperatives of the civilized and the biological imperative that we are charged with keeping our own family alive at all costs...all bets are off then, in this collision of values. The story is timely...I would give this author another attempt if he could tighten up the pacing. The last 1/3 of the book really moved me along and I cared what was happening.

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  • Story

Overly descriptive, but good story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I've already recommended this to a friend because the story is intriguing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Jakarta Pandemic?

The scene where the main character investigated his neighbor's houses to find out if they still lived.

What about Joseph Morton’s performance did you like?

His tonal changes which were slight, but made it easier to understand which characters were speaking.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

After the slow beginning, yes, I wanted to continue listening to the book non-stop. But since I use my audiobooks to keep me entertained in the car or during walks, and read separate books on my Nook, I continued to only listen to this book in the car.

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  • Story

I'd call it a page turner.. if there were pages.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great story - makes you think about the nature of friendship, community, family and responsibility.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Without giving too much away, this book made me think about how real the story could be and I couldn't stop listening.

What about Joseph Morton’s performance did you like?

Good performance in that he didn't distract from the story. I've listened to a couple of audiobooks that were just about ruined by the narrator. Morton did a great job.

Who was the most memorable character of The Jakarta Pandemic and why?

There was a "crazy gun nut" neighbor who turned out to be the one of the protagonists most reliable allies. Not exactly 100 percent stable, in that you never knew if he would over react to any situation, but reliable when the SHTF.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Decent ideas but not very believable

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes!! I'd see the main character react as any normal human being would in similar situations. He had to much restraint for me to be able to believe him to be real! The Pope wouldn't have had such self control as this man showed repeatedly throughout this story! To unbelievable.! As well as many characters throughout doing things that just wouldn't happen in real life.! Sorry not anyone I know..just a for instance: husband goes to check on neighbors.. Wife is supposed to be playing lookout for him. he gets her on walkie talkie & reports the neighbors were All brutally murdered, he's going to the other neighbors house to check on them although he knows they to are dead but he has to be sure! Keep in mind the murders are known to be holding up in a house two doors down.. Upon finding the second family murdered he is leaving the house & runs right into one of the murderers & avoids confrontation & gets home. When he gets home he wonders why his wife didnt warm him the guy was outside the house she apologized stating she went to get another cup of coffee.. Ok your husband is outside, your watching his back, there's a house full of squatting murderers who you've just found out killed your neighbors & you leave your post, leave your husband hanging out there I watched to grab cup of coffee??!? That would constitute a B!/?@ Slap in most households.. Thanks Hun I guess she Was making sure the life insurance policy was paid up.!! Hahaha

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Suprisingly envolving

What did you love best about The Jakarta Pandemic?

The complex situtation that the family finds themselves in.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Alex, the marine veteran who the leader of ther

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Keep the door locked.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharlene
  • Tauranga, New Zealand
  • 06-22-13

Excellent book

Would you listen to The Jakarta Pandemic again? Why?

Yes I would, it was an interesting scenario with lots to think about

Who was your favorite character and why?

Alex because he was so strong for his family

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't want to pause the story, excellent

  • Overall
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  • Story

Worth the time if you have it.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, though not my obsessive compulsive ones. They might die from brain overload. The way the author lays the framework for a disaster such as this is slow and deliberate. I have heard a lot of people say that this book reminds them of the movie Contagion but the correlations, to me, are loose.
The main character works for a pharmaceutical company and has to make a decision to pander or be smart (duh, I kept shouting out loud). In Contagion, it was figuring out where and what they were fighting and the scramble to shut it down as quick as possible.
In this book, the fight is more local. What would you do if you were the only one prepared for something like a pandemic( insert any natural disaster here), could you sit by and say 'shoulda, woulda, coulda'.
THe plot is somewhat predictable but that didn't stop me from burning into the wee hours of the morning to hear what was happening next.
I even shared the book with a few of my students and they were just as riveted as I was. ( Minus, expletives and gory details- got to love 4th graders).

Would you be willing to try another book from Steven Konkoly? Why or why not?

Yes/No. Konkoly is a great writer , don't get me wrong but if every book he ever wrote was as jarring and pivotal as this one, I won't last. I really enjoyed this story. It was so good that at times you felt like this was something straight out of your own neighborhood drama. It touches upon real fears and real dilemmas. Once you have finished this download, you have the overwhelming awareness of how close this sort of thing is from happening and now that you know, you want to turn your house into a Alex Fletcher fortress. So if you have the fortitude, absolutely but if your a lightweight like me. Steven Konkoly in small doses.

What about Joseph Morton’s performance did you like?

Joseph adds some officialness to the story. I appreciate sections of newscast recall and to Alex Fletcher's inner thoughts. Those were nice touches.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

How do you prepare for fear

Any additional comments?

I recommend purchasing the kindle book to go along with this audible. I spent quite a bit of time online looking over the first couple of pages of the book because the layout that his set up of the Duram Road Loop is made much clearer when you get a visual as to where each house lies. It helps as well to get a feel of the conversations between Alex and his wife. Hope you are a fan of deadpan humor-this book is rife with it.