Del Rey, Jan 2002, 24.95, 336 pp.
Brilliant biochemist Hal Cousins conducts research on bacteria living on the ocean floor that if proves fruitful will be the Fountain of Youth as immortality would be the norm. However, someone does not want Hal's work to reach fruition and actually one of the team tries to kill him. Others are also murdered and Hal comes under suspicion of the homicides that include his twin brother, Rob.
Hal soon learns that under Stalin's rule, Soviet microbiologist Maxim Golokhov discovered how to use bacteria to control human behavior. His program, Silk clandestinely came to the United States to set in motion a plan for world domination. As Hal uncovers more of the truth, he wonders if he is paranoid as he sees Silk operatives in everyone including his brother's widow and wonders why Silk wants to stop him from developing the immortality elixir?
VITALS is a powerful science fiction thriller that never slows down whether the tale is in a bathysphere on the ocean floor or in a lab. The story line is fast-paced, seems credible, and is loaded with action though the climax leaves some threads dangling perhaps for a sequel. As he did with DARWIN'S RADIO, Greg Bear stirs up the biological paranoia that seems part of living in this century.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner