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The Demon in the Freezer Audiobook

The Demon in the Freezer

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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

4.2 (608 )
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4.3 (363 )
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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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  •  
    Jonas Manley 08-31-16
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    6
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    "Inspirering!"

    Very good, pleasant voice, not too many unnecessary anecdotes, not too tecnical, but just tecnical enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Henseler 04-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    "The Demon in the Freezer"

    I enjoyed learning the scientific and deadly history of small pox. I had always thought it was similar to childhood chicken pox or measles. I had no idea how potentially dangerous it could be; how it could be used in warfare. How hard it was to rid ourselves of it on a widespread basis. Science disabled it, just like polio. All that thinking was naive. I was stunned by some scientists treating it like an endangered species. Why keep something so horrible unless it's used for no good. I did have trouble following some of the more scientific arguments. Since I now know way more than I did, I'm not frustrated by that.
    I liked that the main characters were all treated fairly and the author showed no particular bias, like or dislike for any of them. He was reporting on small pox, not personalities.
    I enjoyed the reader. He didn't stumble over complicated names or places; I'm sure he used retakes, but it was seamless. He had a pleasant, easy voice to listen to voice. I liked the book overall and I thought it was written extremely well for something based in science. I can tell you water = H2O, but that's the extent of my scientific IQ.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chebence St. Paul, MN 04-07-16
    Chebence St. Paul, MN 04-07-16

    Heavenly Lady

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    "Misleading book description"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This could have been a better book if they did not describe it as a book about anthrax. This book is really about Polio and how the country worked to eradicate it.


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

    No


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration. Because I really thought I was reading a book about Antrax.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Bachelor Keller TX 02-08-16
    K. Bachelor Keller TX 02-08-16 Member Since 2016

    Keltie

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    "The Horror Still Exists"

    The powers that be insist upon keeping small pox in existence, although it was eradicated in the wild. Genetic engineering persists ... in the name of saving mankind from future lethal pandemics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alicia 02-05-16
    Alicia 02-05-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Terrifying."

    Wow, the depths of human depravity. Fascinating information but the narrative feels a little unfocused with jumps from subject to subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose 04-14-15
    Jose 04-14-15
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    "Amazing but Scary!"

    Great book. The details of the dangers of the mentioned viruses are frightening. Great narrater as well. I'll be looking for more title from this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Cambridge, MA, United States 07-21-14
    Amazon Customer Cambridge, MA, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Very engaging...a bit sensationalist"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Demon in the Freezer?

    An autopsy of an inhalation anthrax victim.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The reader gave accents to different characters, which was very distracting. The Australian accent was particularly egregious, and the CDC scientist from the South sounded a bit like Gomer Pyle.


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

    It made me concerned about the availability of the smallpox genome sequence in public databases!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 06-10-14
    Adam 06-10-14 Member Since 2017
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    "B+ Book With a Terrible Narrator"
    Where does The Demon in the Freezer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is a fairly good story but has some very boring moments made even more boring by the terrible performance. I wanted to pull my hair out when it listed literally dozens of pox viruses by animal type.


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

    Not really, smallpox is very dangerous and scary but we know there was no biological attack using it so we won't be surprised.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Boehmer’s performances?

    No, unless it is an amazing story and book and it is the only option.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    It is scary to think about the possibility of literally thousands of gallons of smallpox laying around somewhere waiting to cause global anarchy.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator attempts to do english accents which he accomplishes fairly well, but his take on Russian accents is comical. There is no reason to do accents with a book like this. He is very monotone and boring. I would recommend reading the book rather than listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Renner COLUMBUS, OH, US 04-07-13
    Christine Renner COLUMBUS, OH, US 04-07-13

    An accountant who listens to audiobooks while working on spreadsheets.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Creepy, but amazing!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Demon in the Freezer the most enjoyable?

    It touched so many different topics. While The Hot Zone focused almost solely on Ebola, this book touched a variety of viruses but they were all tied together. You got the backstory on the smallpox eradication efforts, the gruesome effects of the disease most of us have never seen, how the smallpox vaccination team got started in the field and pulled into the research held at the CDC in Atlanta and the story of the first bioterrorist attack on the United States right after 9/11. Very well written (as always) and enjoyable. The narrator did a wonderful job, his use of accents not detracting from the story but helping you genuinely get a feel for the person talking.


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

    It did from the viewpoint that even though I know smallpox hasn't gotten out, I kept waiting for some catastrophe to occur. Any time you're dealing with a level 4 virus, a person can never be too careful. Add in long days inside a spacesuit conducting necropsies with very sharp scalpels, drugging monkeys who have not had their very sharp canines filed and drawing infected blood from those same monkeys with sharp needles and you have the recipe for potential disaster. Preston is able to give the feeling of constant threat without going overboard or sacrificing truth.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry 12-24-12
    Terry 12-24-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Frightening"

    This book will keep you up at night.

    This book underscores one of the potentially world-altering scenarios - biological warfare. Along the lines of Charlie Wilson's War - this is a situation where earth shaking events have occurred, but few people realize or understand. It highlights that there really are bad people out there. Those without scruples that would do harm to everyone and anyone to further their cause.

    As a scientist, I found the book to be informative and technically precise. The author did a good job with proper pronunciation of technical terms. I appreciate the fact that the author seems to have gone to some length not to divulge too much information about the security practices that the US has in place to secure the exotic viruses it has for research purposes.

    This contrasts with some other books that almost give a blueprint of how to get in where you shouldn't and the types of security measures that are in place.

    There are times the story becomes less than smooth - especially some of the transitions between topics. There are a few editing issues, where a sentence or two is repeated, especially around the chapter markings.

    Overall, a very worthy read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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