Technical execution was flawless and therefore gets five stars. I do have one quibble. I like acknowledgments as much as the next person, but unlike most of my colleagues, I think they should go at the end of the work where the reader has a better understanding of what went into the creation of the book. IMHO,
The book should start at the beginning of the story. Commentary can come later.
The following passage is typical of the book’s pace and gives a nice example of the book’s overall “attitude” towards its characters and it subjects.
Several of Echevarria’s neighbors told police they’d heard him yell, heard what sounded like firecrackers, and glimpsed the killer through their windows. They described him as five-foot-five and 180 pounds. Or five-foot-ten and 160 pounds. Or well over six feet, on the thin side, with a long loping stride—kind of like Gomer Pyle, who used to be on TV back when TV was worth watching. One witness said the shooter was a Latino in his late twenties. Another said he was Arabic in his thirties. Two witnesses said the killer was a Caucasian with a West Hollywood tan. Still others described him as “Jewish-looking” or “the Italian-type” or even Indian—the tomahawk-chop-Geronimo kind, not the kind that worship cows and wrap goddamn bed sheets around their heads. Whoever murdered Echevarria was swarthy and clean-shaven.
The witnesses all agreed on that. They also agreed on the getaway car: nobody saw one
I did neglect one important facet of Mr. Freed’s writing. He is genuinely funny in places. It’s not the mean ugly kind of funny we see so often, but a light hearted understanding of life’s absurdities. When you read this book make sure that you are in a place that when you laugh out loud no one will care.
OBTW… for those of you who do not understand aircraft, the title is itself a joke After you have read the book, look up what happens to pilots who find themselves in a flat spin. It’s not pretty.
By David Freed
The Permanent Press
Copyright © May 2012
An advance reader copy of the book was sent to me in electronic form by the author for review.
by Peter Christian Hall
Copyright © October 2011
4 out of 5
A young libertarian flu fighter huddles at home in New York’s East Village, blogging about a devastating avian flu pandemic as he sells masks, gloves, and goggles over the Internet. An intriguing, vexing woman stalks him while he delves into the mysteries of influenza and serves up colorful commentary on the chaos swirling around—and within—his world. When ‘Count Blogula’ gets involved with some lively community flu activists, he collides with a government bent on controlling Americans as if they were viral intruders. With the U.S. staggering through a kind of national Katrina—Chinatown a smoky ruin, Atlanta evacuated, Houston blown up—he must fight both the system and the contagion to save his life and love.
One man takes his opinions, research, and eyewitness accounts to the internet. A personality known only as ‘Count Blogula’ ships personal protective equipment to people looking for salvation from a deadly flu virus. He begins his blog by offering advice, brief history lessons, and a variety of links that take you to the information that he talks about. But eventually, the world falls apart before his eyes as the virus breaks down his friends, the city that he lives in, the government, and eventually him.
FROM THE BOOK:
We need to infect society with rational fear. We need to go viral – no less than H5N1 has done. People far from New York must prepare. It’s not too late! Yet.
American Fever doesn’t read like a book, but exactly like the story intends: a blog. It’s filled with the random musings of a man as a deadly virus begins to wiggle its way in to his life, and the narration grows more personal every day. It’s a dairy of the madness that the world would become if we were consumed with an epidemic.
I enjoyed this book, but I’m not sure how I would perceive it in paperback. Normally I can rate how much I like a story by how quickly I write my review about book – this was an exception. I read American Fever on my Kindle Fire, and found myself constantly sidetracked by the hyperlinks that were posted within. The narrator offered informational links to videos and websites that made the story extremely interactive.
Toward the end of the story, I found myself reading it on the actual blog. That’s right, the author actually has a blog that contains all of the posts, and you can read the whole story as originally intended online. I enjoyed see the photos that were posted in the blog that didn’t transition over to the download. I’m curious if they made it to the printed version.
You could easily get lost in this, or the hyperlinks, whichever fascinates you more. Overall, I was impressed with the amount of research that Peter Christian Hall invested into creating this… book?