"Child Zero" by Chris Holm
Updated: Jun 8
After a real-life global pandemic which has recently left millions of victims dead, Chris Holm could not have picked a better time to release his latest book, “Child Zero.” It is a gripping tale of a possible, future world where diseases long thought extinguished have come roaring back. Read more for the complete review...
Antibiotics have ceased to be the salvation of mankind. Minor scrapes and cuts are now life-threatening events. In the wake of a bioterrorist attack, the US government has created the Department of Biological Security — a powerful organization with a mandate to take whatever steps necessary to contain the spread of infectious diseases. Parents live in fear that sick children will be taken away by DBS agents. It is in this setting that NYPD detective Jake Gibson finds a twelve-year-old boy with very dangerous enemies — enemies with deep pockets and powerful connections. What do these people want with the young boy? Will Jake find the answer before these forces take steps to ensure the detective disappears first?
Before becoming an award-winning author, Chris Holm was on track for a career in molecular biology. His background made it possible to infuse “Child Zero” with just enough detail about the underlying science to make you believe this apocalyptic future is all too possible. Be forewarned though, after finishing this book, I found myself wearing a mask again — despite multiple vaccinations against Covid.
Unlike some of the other novels we’ve reviewed up until now, this is more thriller than classic whodunit or cozy mystery. As a matter of fact, it is a dark tale with nothing cozy about it. There is a great deal of action, which includes a fair share of violence, but there was no gratuitous sex between the covers.
The development of the characters was well done, populated with enough of them to create an interesting mix. The story resonated with me, as a parent, so that I was emotionally invested in the children who were caught up in the dystopian nightmare that starts to develop from page one. I was really rooting for the central protagonist and clung desperately to a hope that he would somehow overcome seemingly impossible odds. The author makes excellent use of occasional emails, excerpts from reports, and newscasts as a seasoning that adds an ominous layer of authenticity to this complex tale.
How does it all end? Does good triumph over evil? I’m not telling. Not even if you threaten me with exposure to a deadly virus, like bubonic plague. If you want to know what happens, you’ll just have to do the same as I did. Read “Child Zero.”
One last comment. When you purchase the book, you might want to stock up on face masks, antiseptic spray, and gloves. After the book becomes a bestseller, the shelves in your local supermarket may no longer have those items in stock.