by Cook, Robin; Brick, Scott (NRT)

With his wife in a coma after contracting a rare and highly lethal mosquito-borne viral disease, Brian vows to seek justice against the hospital and insurance company that won't cover the costs by exposing the dark side of a ruthless industry and bring down the executives preying on the sick.

When Emma Murphy is stricken with a life-threatening virus, she's rushed to the hospital. She survives, but the hospital bill is enormous, and the insurance company rejects the claim. Facing financial ruin, Emma's husband, Brian, becomes determined to get retribution from a corrupt health-care system. Readers familiar with Cook's one-word-title novels, including Genesis (2019), Pandemic (2018), and, reaching back to his first and best, Coma (1977), know where this is going: Brian uncovers a massive conspiracy and risks his life to bring justice to the conspirators. As usual, the writing ranges in quality from workmanlike to "Really? They published this?", but Cook's books have always been more about the stories than the style. He is a reliable tale-teller. Readers know there will be an underdog central character, at least one easily hatable villain, and a few solid action scenes. Viral delivers exactly what it is intended: a story tailor-made for Cook's many fans. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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