Annabelle Murphy has just recently returned to a producer job at Key News after dealing with her husband's mental state and her two twin children. One of the episodes she has been producing for the morning show has been detailing certain illnesses that can be life-threatening. And then one of the dangers mentioned comes to life. One of her very close friends dies with symptoms of Anthrax poisoning. Slowly, more people show signs of this horrible contamination, and the whole Broadcast Center must be shut down, with the killer still in the building.
This report prepared by Jenn Moss
St. Martin's, Aug 2003, 24.95
KEY News Executive Producer Linus Nazareth orders his staff to “make bioterrorism sexy” to Americans so that they will care and follow the newscasts. Annabelle Murphy who is trying to earn a reputation outside the mentoring shadow of her friend, star reporter Constance, produces the track. However, Annabelle almost collapses in shock when the station's medical correspondent Dr. John Lee displays a vial he insists contains deadly weapons-grade anthrax on morning TV.
The Feds investigate while everyone panics, but Dr. Lee's alleged anthrax turns out to be sugar, as he wanted to make a firecracker point that got out of hand. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief especially Annabelle who expected to join the growing unemployed. Lee crossed the line of good taste. Soon the exhaling changes when another member of the news team, a wannabe author of an expose, soon dies from Anthrax poisoning. Two more die. Annabelle investigates what is going on unaware that she is a carrier as a murderer hides behind bioterrorism to commit homicides.
Though the newsroom is populated by stereotypes, this clever tale turns these office villains into potential suspects due to their archetypal behavior. The crew is often mean and one is clearly flawed in a noticeable way and has few, if any, decent traits. That on top of a fast-paced story line and a delightful heroine makes Mary Jane Clark's novel a winner for the amateur sleuth and the low grade (no cities destroyed) bioterror crowd. Readers will appreciate this strong who-done-it and wonder if the FBI should hire Annabelle to solve the ‘01 mailings that killed people with no arrests.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner