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The Demon in the Freezer

Cover of The Demon in the Freezer

The Demon in the Freezer

A True Story
Borrow Borrow
In this first non-fiction book since THE HOT ZONE, Richard Preston takes us inside top-secret military labs to deliver a true-life thriller about the return of smallpox - in an even deadlier,...
In this first non-fiction book since THE HOT ZONE, Richard Preston takes us inside top-secret military labs to deliver a true-life thriller about the return of smallpox - in an even deadlier,...
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Description-
  • In this first non-fiction book since THE HOT ZONE, Richard Preston takes us inside top-secret military labs to deliver a true-life thriller about the return of smallpox - in an even deadlier, genetically engineered form. Eradicated in 1979, smallpox now has crept onto the international black market, where it is prized as the mother of all biological weapons. THE DEMON IN THE FREEZER is the story of a crusade by three doctors - two men at the height of their careers and a feisty twenty-eight-year-old woman infectious disease expert - to stay a step ahead of the bioterrorists and neutralize the most contagious pathogen known. But they can't agree on how it should be done. And when you're working in the hot zone, conflict comes at a lethal price.

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter 1
    Something in the Air Journey Inward

    OCTOBER 2-6, 2001

    In the early nineteen seventies, a British photo retoucher named Robert Stevens arrived in south Florida to take a job at the National Enquirer, which is published in Palm Beach County. At the time, photo retouchers for supermarket tabloids used an airbrush (nowadays they use computers) to clarify news photographs of world leaders shaking hands with aliens or to give more punch to pictures of six-month-old babies who weigh three hundred pounds. Stevens was reputed to be one of the best photo retouchers in the business. The Enquirer was moving away from stories like "I Ate My Mother-in-Law's Head," and the editors recruited him to bring some class to the paper. They offered him much more than he made working for tabloids in Britain.

    Stevens was in his early thirties when he moved to Florida. He bought a red Chevy pickup truck, and he put a CB radio in it and pasted an American-flag decal in the back window and installed a gun rack next to the flag. He didn't own a gun: the gun rack was for his fishing rods. Stevens spent a lot of time at lakes and canals around south Florida, where he would spin-cast for bass and panfish. He often stopped to drop a line in the water on his way to and from work. He became an American citizen. He would drink a Guinness or two in bars with his friends and explain the Constitution to them. "Bobby was the only English redneck I ever knew," Tom Wilbur, one of his best friends, said to me.

    Stevens's best work tended to get the Enquirer sued. When the TV star Freddie Prinze shot himself to death, Stevens joined two photographs into a seamless image of Prinze and Raquel Welch at a party together. The implication was that they had been lovers, and this sparked a lawsuit. He enhanced a photograph of a woman with a long neck: "Giraffe Woman." Giraffe Woman sued. His most famous retouching job was on a photograph of Elvis lying dead in his coffin, which ran on the cover of the Enquirer. Elvis's bloated face looked a lot better in Stevens's version than it did in the handiwork of the mortician.

    Robert Stevens was a kindhearted man. He filed the barbs off his fishing hooks so that he could release a lot of the fish he caught, and he took care of feral cats that lived in the swamps around his house. There was something boyish about him. Even when he was in his sixties, children in the neighborhood would knock on the door and ask his wife, Maureen, "Can Bobby come out and play?" Not long before he died, he began working for The Sun, a tabloid published by American Media, the company that also owns the National Enquirer. The two tabloids shared space in an office building in Boca Raton.

    on thursday, September 27th, Robert Stevens and his wife drove to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit their daughter Casey. They hiked at Chimney Rock Park, where each autumn brings the spectacular sight of five hundred or more migrating hawks soaring in the air at once, and Maureen took a photograph of her husband with the mountains behind him. By Sunday, Stevens was not feeling well. They left for Florida Sunday night, and he got sick to his stomach during the drive home. On Monday, he began running a high fever and became incoherent. At two o'clock on Tuesday morning, Maureen took him to the emergency room of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Palm Beach County. A doctor there thought he might have meningitis. Five hours later, Stevens started having convulsions.

    The doctors performed a spinal tap on him, and the fluid came out cloudy. Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious-disease specialist, looked at slides of the fluid and saw that it was full of...

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Although intended to satisfy the recent mania for information about terrorism, Preston's audiobook abounds with eclectic facts about smallpox (the demon) and other viruses that will interest readers with scientific curiosity. Paul Boehmer seizes the emotion of the moment as a scientist jabs a scissors blade through her protective glove into a finger right after he has told us that a single virus particle in her bloodstream would be fatal. His technical pronunciation is accurate and natural, although he repeatedly mispronounces smallpox's only enemy, vaccinia, the live virus used for vaccination. Preston has a knack for telling stories, and Boehmer turns them into a performance that captivates. J.A.H. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine
  • Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague "Richard Preston has brought us another book that reads like a top-notch thriller. Would that it were fiction. As the movie unfolds in your mind, remember this: It can happen here."
  • Jonathan Weiner, author of The Beak of the Finch "The Demon in the Freezer is fascinating, frightening, and important. It reads like a thriller, but the demons are real. Richard Preston has a 'black patent' on this kind of reporting and storytelling. He is the only writer on the scene who can make the inside story of biological weapons so darkly entertaining.
    Read this book and pray that its heroes can lock the demon back in the freezer."
  • Stephen King "One of the most horrifying things I've ever read in my whole life. What a remarkable piece of work. I devoured it in two or three sittings, and have a feeling the memories will linger a long time."
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review "A tour de force . . . Preston uses the power of simple narrative to drive deep his story's urgent truths."
  • The Washington Post Book World "Utterly engrossing . . . Will make your blood curdle."
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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A True Story
Richard Preston
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