Sometimes, I don’t mind if a book doesn’t quite know what it wants to be when it grows up.
This is not one of those times.
13 Days to Die spreads itself across several genres – thriller (political, medical), mystery (hunting an ID to attach to a person), flat out political commentary, conspiracy theories, etc.
The basics: a man comes out of the forest in Tibet, looking like Patient Zero of a new bug that could easily become a pandemic, which will look pretty familiar to anyone living through 2020. An American intel officer impersonating a journalist, Olen Grave, is sent off to investigate this, and teams up with a Chinese medical doctor, Dr. Zhou, also investigating it.
It doesn’t spoil anything to say that Patient Zero is not just some random dude, but is more than he seems to be. Grave (it isn’t necessary to telegraph what’s going on by naming someone Grave, author, unless you want to add pulpy fiction to the list of genres) and Zhou get caught up in a (shocker!) conspiracy involving their respective countries. They have to figure out what is going on before the planet gets nuked into oblivion.
There are some unnecessary afterwords about characters at the end, and it’s at this point where the train really goes off the rails.
The story is okay, but the book could have been better if it decided whether to go into full-on conspiracy theorist ground.
Two out of five stars.
Thanks to Crooked Lane and NetGalley for the review copy.