CODON ZERO

By Jim Hendee

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

“If you agree, you’ll be happy you did.  I promise.”

In today’s world, most people are familiar with the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist.’  And because of the omnipresence of the media, many people are aware of bioterrorism, but only as a concept.  Fortunately, very few people have come into contact with bioterrorism.  Yet bioterrorism is real and it’s scary.

In his bio-thriller – Codon Zero – author Jim Hendee brings the reader face to face with bioterrorism and its lethal consequences.  As the story opens, retired U.S. intelligence officer Jason Stouter is approached by Dr. Chance Bonnard, a biochemical engineer.  Dr. Bonnard informs Jason Stouter that he has a formulated a cure for the rare disease that afflicts Jason’s son.  If Jason will do Dr. Bonnard a favor, the doctor will cure his son.

After agreeing, Jason discovers that Dr. Bonnard and his co-conspirators have a concocted a plan to blackmail Israel and the PLO.  The conspirators infect high-ranking officials with a genetically engineered virus specific to Jewish and Arab genomes.  The price for the antidote is a permanent peace agreement.

However, Kahlil Zufar, a psychotic terrorist, has his own plans for the virus.  Zufar plans on murdering millions of Arabs and Jews, thus altering the face of the Middle East, while at the same time enriching himself.  Jason’s attempt to thwart Zufar is complicated by the fact that Zufar has kidnapped Jason’s son. 

Jason and two femme fatales – who may or may not be trustworthy – work feverishly to perform the impossible:  foil Zufar’s evil machinations, save Jason’s son, and usher in a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Like a roller coaster, Codon Zero provides a thrill-a-minute ride.  When the non-stop action threatens to stall, Hendee shoves the throttles forward to achieve maximum velocity.  The dialogue resonates with realism.  The characters are believable.  The emotional pulse is dramatic.

Codon Zero is a combination of Ian Fleming’s James Bond and Stephen Coonts’ Jake Grafton.