An organization called the "Society of One Hundred Neighbors", which has exactly 100 members, wants to control the U.S government so they can get rid of policies they don't like - especially entitlement programs. The society has secret members across the country including politicians, cops, judges, doctors, scientists, business people, and so on - all of whom are dedicated to achieving their goal.
As the story opens the society has created and unleashed a 'Doomsday Germ' called Janus - an antibiotic-resistant, flesh-eating bacteria that breaks down a victim's body from the inside out. As the disease spreads through the body, the unfortunate victim has their infected limbs amputated, one at a time, until they succumb to death.
The society is blackmailing the government, saying it will provide a cure for the Janus germ if policies are changed to suit their goals. There's a huge problem however. Janus has mutated and the society's cure no longer works. Desperate to continue to extort the government, the society hatches a plan to kidnap scientists, install them in a secret lab, and force them to find a new antibiotic.
The government, of course, wants to thwart the society. Thus, it has it has its own people working on a cure.
Dr. Lou Welcome, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, is an ER doctor and assistant director of the Physicians Wellness Office. Due to some bad luck Lou's best friend, Cap Duncan, sustains a horrific compound fracture of his leg and - while in the hospital - gets infected with the Janus bacteria. Lou is determined to help his friend and gets pulled into an underground scheme to find a cure.
I had hoped the author would talk more about the actual Janus bacteria but the book is essentially a thriller. The society ruthlessly tortures and kills people to achieve its goal while Lou and an FBI agent try to free the kidnapped scientists and destroy the society.
The story is violent, suspenseful, and fast-moving with an interesting array of repellent bad guys and heroic good guys. I have a reservation that applies to most fictional stories with a 'deadly germ' theme, including this one. The fictional scientists find a cure in a few days that - in real life - would literally take years or decades. I'll accept authors' license however.
I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to fans of thrillers.
Rating: 3.5 stars