Sinister Secrets by Robert Joseph is very much like the novel, Outbreak by Robin Cook. Yes, Outbreak was about Ebola and Sinister Secrets is dealing with a whole new type of virus. However, there are elements of similarity such as a short incubation period, short period of time between diagnosis and death (a pretty nasty one, too) and the introduction of the virus via primates.
But, the cure isn’t about creating a vaccine for this virus but developing a tonic made from a plant. This makes Robert Joseph’s novel entirely different to other novels in the same ilk. I find it hard not to keep thinking the virus in Sinister Secrets, as Ebola. Then, of course, I start comparing the facts in the novel with what we know already about the disease. So, I had to make sure I remembered that Robert Joseph’s virus is fictional (I hope!). I liked the novel; it’s not just about an outbreak of an unknown virus but the corruption and stupidity surrounding its release.
I did find one little discrepancy in the facts but it could easily be passed over without affecting the story. It read, to me, like the virus was already ‘recognised’ before it was officially studied, categorised and subsequently named. At that moment in the book, very little was known about what caused the few deaths that had occurred. So, I was a little unsure as to whether the error was really one or not.
Don’t let this little thing, though, spoil the book for you. It’s a terrific read with plenty of action taking place on the sidelines.