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Thriller Review    



Bone Dust
by Rick Maier
1stBooks Library, 2003
Trade paper, $14.50  (227 pages)
ISBN: 1-4107-3151-0

Rick Maier takes the international topic of bio-terrorism and shows the effects in Macon, Georgia, with his novel Bone Dust. He presents how easy a virus can be created with the right conditions, and how it can spread across borders to create an epidemic.

Chicken houses on a Pilipino farm are struck by lightening, and as the ash containing manure and carcass becomes airborne the Manila Flu is created. The flu begins to take its toll on the Philippines as a businessman not experiencing symptoms decides to travel to Ohio. The international flight becomes an incubator for the flu as travelers to California and Ohio become infected.

An Ohio father comes in direct contact with the Pilipino businessman's sneeze in the airport restroom. By the father and his 5 year-old son drive down I-75 to a Macon McDonalds, he has the flu. The father collapses in the fast food franchise infecting everyone there.

Maier focuses the Macon story on the employees of the BLuR Financial Center. The human resources officer is among those infected at McDonalds, then spreads it through her fellow employees. By mid-afternoon, everyone is going home with the flu. 

This sub-community becomes interesting to watch as the flu touches their lives.  Some will die or those loved ones.  Some will be overwhelmed, while others rise to the challenge. Some will become criminals as become victims. There is also a change in attitude about class and race, as the community battles a faceless enemy.

Maier provides an insightful experience using realistic activities from the CDC, Civil Defense/EBS, National Guard and media. In light of the SARS epidemic, this is an extremely timely thriller. Bone Dust is fast-paced, character driven, and intense. 


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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