This subject of bio-terrorism is a disturbing one. You only have to look back at the post 9/11 Anthrax attack to understand the desalinizing effect that bio-terorrism can have. Some call it the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, a threat that you cannot see, it is a silent executioner. It could be in the water, it could be in the air or even in your food.

It is with this dire canvas that author Rene Natan (AKA Irene Gargantini) paints The Blackpox Threat.

The scenario is not as outlandish as it seems. What if an ex Iron Curtain biological warfare expert did continue his research following the fall of the USSR? What if, he had both the knowledge and the equipment? What if, someone offered him a huge sum of money for the fruits of his labors?

Author Rene Natan has selected Canada as the initial target for the attack, but it could easily be aimed also at the US. Regardless of the target country the same problem exists, how to smuggle the deadly payload into the country for distribution? It is delicate, and it is time sensitive.

CSIS, the Canadian equivalent of the CIA get wind that something maybe going on via information they receive from the Ukrainian embassy. It is sketchy, and they have little to go on except maybe the name of the company that will be handling the transportation. A huge unknown is if this company is part of the plot, or an unwitting facilitator.

Tamara Smith is the head of PR for Ship Me Safely and due to her past circumstances CSIS feel comfortable bringing her into at least part of their investigation.

Everyone is a suspect, Tamara is tasked with finding out more about those within the company and the influential clients that use the services of the Modano company – Ship Me Safely.  The Modano company specialize in the shipment and auctioning of fine art and items of antiquity. Well acquainted with the need for secure climate controlled shipping environments, and maybe just as importantly the vagaries of the import/export world they are uniquely positioned to handle the transportation of the deadly virus.

One thing rapidly becomes crystal clear to Tamara, it is difficult to determine friend from foe. In fact it is a very fine line she must tread. This fine line extends not only through her work contacts and personal life, but also into those that have asked her to assist in the investigation.  But where does the need for security, or the eccentricities of the rich end, and conspiracy begin?

I would be doing the author a huge disservice, and indeed the reader, by sharing more of the plot.

The Blackpox Threat is not Rene Natan’s first trip to the literary rodeo, she has a number of novels to her credit and her writing experience shows. Both the character and plot development are well done. The subject matter is a tricky one to tackle, it would be all to easy to haven fallen into the Tom Clancy abyss of being over technical, or the Robert Ludlum peat bog where the reader is slowly sucked into the mire while drowning in minutiae. Instead, Rene Natan offers a fast paced thriller with lots of twists and turns that should appeal to any reader that enjoys an action/adventure thriller story.

Although Rene Natan has penned a number of other books The Blackpox Threat is the first one in the true thriller genre. It will be interesting to see where her writing leads next, will she stay with the action/thriller or return to more familiar ground?

I give The Blackpox Threat very high marks indeed. It is a most enjoyable and entertaining piece of writing. Rene Natan has made a big investment in developing her Tamara Smith character, I for one would not be surprised to see Tamara in a future book. I will be interviewing the author in the near future, and you can rest assured that I will be asking that very question.

You can buy The Blackpox Threat at better book stores everywhere, or by using the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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