This week the CFBA (Christian Fiction Blog Alliance) is featuring Germ, by Robert Liparulo. Bob is part of Sta Akra, an informal, small group of suspense authors to which I belong. (More about this group in a future post.)
Bob, a successful journalist for twenty years, has been going great guns since he began publishing his novels with Westbow, the fiction division of Thomas Nelson. (According to an announcement last October, the Westbow imprint is being dropped, and all future TN fiction will be published under the Nelson name.) His first novel, Comes a Horseman, was nominated for a Christy last year, and film rights to the story have been sold. Now Red Eagle Entertainment has purchased the movie and video game rights to Germ, and Bob will be writing that screenplay. Bob also wrote one of the short stories for the anthology Thrillers: Stories To Keep You Up All Night, edited by James Patterson. This book received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. And this is just the beginning. Trust me when I tell you that Bob has lots of exciting things planned for his career, and you will continue seeing his name—in print and on the screen.
Germ has a fast pace that only lets up here and there to allow the reader some breathe time. It has both male and female protagonists, so although I’d consider the story rather “male-oriented” (think Tom Clancy with a Van Diesel ending), female suspense readers can certainly enjoy the story as well.
Here’s the blurb about Germ:
If you breathe, it will find you...
The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. On it are business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None know what is about to happen...but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.
The GERM...a more advanced form of the Ebola virus...has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. If your DNA is not a match, you simply catch a cold. But if your DNA is a match, within days your internal organs liquefy and you die a most painful death. There is no cure.
The release of the virus would usher in a new era of power...one in which countries are left without any form of defense, where one person or millions could be killed with 100% accuracy yet result in no collateral damage to property or those not targeted.
That time isn't coming...It is now!
Fiction from Thomas Nelson often does not contain an overt Christian message. As I understand it, the “Christian worldview” writing is more the kind of story TN publishes, rather than the stories with strong Christian content. For our industry’s sake, I’m glad for this focus from TN. We have plenty of publishers who do want more of an overt message, so a publisher with TN’s focus allows our industry as a whole to target a wider audience. Bob Liparulo’s books are right for this focus. Germ has a Christian character but little of his faith is explored on the surface of the story. You have to look beneath the surface to see how his faith ultimately leads him.
My bottom line: Bob Liparulo’s prose is rhythmic and smooth. He’s a fine writer as well as an inventive storyteller. Recommend Germ to anyone who loves well-written high-concept suspense.