Review of Invisible Threat

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any crime, thriller, mystery or horror books or series.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
User avatar
Cara Wilding
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 679
Joined: 09 Aug 2023, 12:30
Favorite Book: Sierra Six
Currently Reading: Global Vice
Bookshelf Size: 101
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cara-wilding.html
Latest Review: Family Business by James Jack Fauser
2024 Reading Goal: 150
2024 Goal Completion: 7%

Review of Invisible Threat

Post by Cara Wilding »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Invisible Threat" by Robert L. Hirsch.]
Book Cover
4 out of 5 stars
Share This Review


The use of poisons like polonium-210 in targeted assassinations has only recently made headlines. Nevertheless, throughout history, state-sponsored biological weapons programs have used diseases such as smallpox, anthrax, and plague as weapons of war. A substantial number of individuals are employed in the field of biological sciences, doing research in laboratories across the globe and silently facilitating the public’s access to potentially deadly bacteria. The publication of Robert Hirsch’s Invisible Threat occurred a mere six months into the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the thoughts and writing for this medical thriller began far earlier. In this work of fiction, the author creates a plausible, unsettling, and timely contemporary horror scenario.

Alan is an odd confluence of Jewish and Iranian origins. Ghaffar, Alan's father, escaped Iran in the early 1980s and surprisingly married Leeza, a Jewish American. Alan struggled to find his sense of self in his formative years, grappling with the complexities of his unique family background. However, he quickly became impassioned by the plight of his Muslim heritage. He excelled academically and graduated from the esteemed medical school at Harvard. While attending school, Alan meets Sabina at a nearby mosque. Sabina’s family also relocated to the United States, but they did so from Iraq during the rule of Saddam Hussein. The two quickly found common ground in the creation of a jihad-oriented global Muslim caliphate in America, married, and started a family of their own.

By the time Alan was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University to work on neurovirology and immunizations, both Alan and Sabina considered themselves radicalized Muslims. Against the backdrop of the 9/11 tragedy, a subsequent terrorist attack on the highway system, and a biological attack at the Olympics, Alan and Sabina find themselves in the middle of a harrowing plot. The novel takes readers on a journey through an unlikely measles outbreak, a web of disinformation, the engineering of a deadly vaccine, insider trading, murder, and a high-stakes investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. What role, if any, did Alan and Sabina play in these events? Within the pages of Robert Hirsh’s modern nightmare, masked in fiction, lies the answer, waiting to be discovered.

I appreciated how the author organically blended historical figures and events into his narrative; it gave the character’s motivations more depth and authenticity. The author uses vivid descriptions, capturing even the most minute details, such as the lingering scent of smoke within a rented vehicle, immersing the reader fully. I found the exploitation of America’s strengths in diversity, inclusion, and tolerance, and the escape from prosecution against itself, paradoxical and heartbreaking. The author’s deep understanding of the medical environment effectively brings the scenes and activities to life. I loved being able to learn the complex ways in which diseases can be transmitted between individuals and across various geographical areas. The cover was enticing, and the inclusion of germ-like images for the chapter headings added a nice touch.

There were a few things that could have been better. It would have been preferable if the author had employed a more nuanced approach to revealing the characters’ roles in the plot. The numerous clear clues throughout the story made the conclusion somewhat foreseeable. I craved a deeper exploration of the investigation that would ultimately bring about a more satisfying resolution. The character’s responses to the mistakes could have been more convincing. For instance, one might have anticipated a pronounced display of outrage and paranoia with the research paper outcome. In a separate instance, I also would not expect such an intelligent person to contemplate murder, given the apparent risks involved. The book’s first half has a slower pace, and I felt like the attack at the Olympics was an attempt to remedy it, making the story less cohesive. The author seemed to devote overwhelming attention to the character Nari, even dedicating entire chapters to her. However, despite this focus, she didn’t play a significant role in the story. She seemed to hold some importance solely because the author hinted at possibly using her character in a sequel.

Overall, the novel's plot was quite engaging. It provided a valuable opportunity to delve into the significance of immunizations and presented a thought-provoking exploration of the grim reality of biological weapons. The book's competent editing was another plus for me. I have deducted one star for the issues I mentioned, giving it an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Anyone who is a fan of suspenseful thrillers with a Robin Cook or Patricia Cornwell vibe will likely enjoy this one.

******
Invisible Threat
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Jitendra KUMAR 11
Posts: 26
Joined: 20 Jan 2024, 12:08
Currently Reading: Artwords
Bookshelf Size: 6
2024 Reading Goal: 100
2024 Goal Completion: 2%

Post by Jitendra KUMAR 11 »

This book the answer, waiting to be discovered.

I appreciated how the author organically blended historical figures and events into his narrative;
:D :techie-studyingbrown:
Jitendra KUMAR 11
Posts: 26
Joined: 20 Jan 2024, 12:08
Currently Reading: Artwords
Bookshelf Size: 6
2024 Reading Goal: 100
2024 Goal Completion: 2%

Post by Jitendra KUMAR 11 »

The book is motivated overall
:D :techie-studyingbrown:
Mari Thompson
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 270
Joined: 16 Sep 2023, 18:30
Currently Reading: Exploring Wine Regions – Bordeaux France
Bookshelf Size: 23
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mari-thompson.html
Latest Review: Artwords by Beatriz M. Robles

Post by Mari Thompson »

Congratulations on an official online book club review in place of a volunteer review 🎉 As for this particular book, I’m glad it is fiction and even so, I wouldn’t want the karma of any characters in the story 🫣 Your review gave me a great visual of what takes place in the story and I completely understand the star deduction. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book. Great job.
User avatar
Bettny Andrade
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 816
Joined: 23 Feb 2022, 10:57
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 125
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bettny-andrade.html
Latest Review: The Doomsday Clock by Mark Pearson

Post by Bettny Andrade »

I love these types of stories. I am passionate about chemistry, biology and genetics. I love learning about genes, crosses and mutations. Although ironically I didn't study anything about it :doh: :lol2: .

This book has all the signs of a story that would have me glued to the pages. I understand your point of view regarding Nari, I usually appreciate this kind of thing in a book when a secondary character appears at key points and that makes it possible for a sequel to be the focal point. It's good to keep that in mind.

As always, excellent review, thank you very much! See you! :techie-studyingbrown:
User avatar
Stephen Christopher 1
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 648
Joined: 07 Feb 2023, 04:27
Favorite Book: The Book Thief
Currently Reading: The Impossible Mock Orange Trial
Bookshelf Size: 127
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-stephen-christopher-1.html
Latest Review: 28 Disastrous Dates: A (Mostly True) Humourous Memoir by Poppy Mortimer
2024 Reading Goal: 25
2024 Goal Completion: 36%

Post by Stephen Christopher 1 »

Wow! You're an official reviewer now, fantastic!!! Ok so yes I love Robin Cook and don't even get me started on Patricia Cornwall, so as first I wanted to read this, setting up a character for a sequel is one of my pet hates in a book, and as Nari doesn't serve any purpose that's going to irk me. Hmmm, I'm in 2 minds about this book. You know me well enough by now. Read or park?
Timothy Gye
Posts: 155
Joined: 19 Jan 2024, 10:52
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 13
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-timothy-gye.html
Latest Review: Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger

Post by Timothy Gye »

Thank you for sharing your insightful review, Your detailed analysis highlights the author's skillful blend of science and marketing concepts, enriched by engaging personal anecdotes. It's encouraging to see the positive impact of real-world examples and the effectiveness of practical insights. Your thorough appreciation, including the absence of dislikes and recognition of the well-edited content, reinforces the book's value. Your 5-star rating and recommendation make a compelling case for readers!
User avatar
Anaïs Quesson
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 313
Joined: 15 Jun 2023, 14:20
Favorite Book: The Song of Achilles
Currently Reading: Chrome Mountain
Bookshelf Size: 174
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ana-s-quesson.html
Latest Review: Just Die by E Alan Fleischauer

Post by Anaïs Quesson »

Hello there, Cara! What happened?? I was gone for only a month or so and you're now an official reviewer?? :lol: Congratulations! This is very well deserved. As always, this review is among the most compelling on this forum.
The biological weapon in this book reminds me of Inferno by Dan Brown. (I think I remember an old comment of yours stating you liked The Da Vinci Code...) Despite the negative comments you outlined, Invisible Threat sounds like a book I'd love to read. Hopefully, it will be the case soon!
I hope you're doing well. I'm happy to be back and read more of your reviews! xox
Anaïs - she/her

"No nightingales. You idiot. We could have been... us."
User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 6516
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
Currently Reading: The Machine Crusade
Bookshelf Size: 414
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Three Bullets by Charles Alexander
2024 Reading Goal: 60
2024 Goal Completion: 20%

Post by NetMassimo »

Despite some choices that might have made the book longer than it needed, overall, this seems like an engaging thriller rooted in the world history of recent decades. Thank you for your great review!
Ciao :)
Massimo
User avatar
Gerry Steen
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 524
Joined: 08 May 2023, 20:08
Currently Reading: The Impossible Mock Orange Trial
Bookshelf Size: 118
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gerry-steen.html
Latest Review: The Adventurers of Uncle Billy & Ross by Solon Phillips, Esq.

Post by Gerry Steen »

Cara Wilding wrote: 29 Jan 2024, 18:21 [Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Invisible Threat" by Robert L. Hirsch.]
Book Cover
4 out of 5 stars
Share This Review


The use of poisons like polonium-210 in targeted assassinations has only recently made headlines. Nevertheless, throughout history, state-sponsored biological weapons programs have used diseases such as smallpox, anthrax, and plague as weapons of war. A substantial number of individuals are employed in the field of biological sciences, doing research in laboratories across the globe and silently facilitating the public’s access to potentially deadly bacteria. The publication of Robert Hirsch’s Invisible Threat occurred a mere six months into the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the thoughts and writing for this medical thriller began far earlier. In this work of fiction, the author creates a plausible, unsettling, and timely contemporary horror scenario.

Alan is an odd confluence of Jewish and Iranian origins. Ghaffar, Alan's father, escaped Iran in the early 1980s and surprisingly married Leeza, a Jewish American. Alan struggled to find his sense of self in his formative years, grappling with the complexities of his unique family background. However, he quickly became impassioned by the plight of his Muslim heritage. He excelled academically and graduated from the esteemed medical school at Harvard. While attending school, Alan meets Sabina at a nearby mosque. Sabina’s family also relocated to the United States, but they did so from Iraq during the rule of Saddam Hussein. The two quickly found common ground in the creation of a jihad-oriented global Muslim caliphate in America, married, and started a family of their own.

By the time Alan was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University to work on neurovirology and immunizations, both Alan and Sabina considered themselves radicalized Muslims. Against the backdrop of the 9/11 tragedy, a subsequent terrorist attack on the highway system, and a biological attack at the Olympics, Alan and Sabina find themselves in the middle of a harrowing plot. The novel takes readers on a journey through an unlikely measles outbreak, a web of disinformation, the engineering of a deadly vaccine, insider trading, murder, and a high-stakes investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. What role, if any, did Alan and Sabina play in these events? Within the pages of Robert Hirsh’s modern nightmare, masked in fiction, lies the answer, waiting to be discovered.

I appreciated how the author organically blended historical figures and events into his narrative; it gave the character’s motivations more depth and authenticity. The author uses vivid descriptions, capturing even the most minute details, such as the lingering scent of smoke within a rented vehicle, immersing the reader fully. I found the exploitation of America’s strengths in diversity, inclusion, and tolerance, and the escape from prosecution against itself, paradoxical and heartbreaking. The author’s deep understanding of the medical environment effectively brings the scenes and activities to life. I loved being able to learn the complex ways in which diseases can be transmitted between individuals and across various geographical areas. The cover was enticing, and the inclusion of germ-like images for the chapter headings added a nice touch.

There were a few things that could have been better. It would have been preferable if the author had employed a more nuanced approach to revealing the characters’ roles in the plot. The numerous clear clues throughout the story made the conclusion somewhat foreseeable. I craved a deeper exploration of the investigation that would ultimately bring about a more satisfying resolution. The character’s responses to the mistakes could have been more convincing. For instance, one might have anticipated a pronounced display of outrage and paranoia with the research paper outcome. In a separate instance, I also would not expect such an intelligent person to contemplate murder, given the apparent risks involved. The book’s first half has a slower pace, and I felt like the attack at the Olympics was an attempt to remedy it, making the story less cohesive. The author seemed to devote overwhelming attention to the character Nari, even dedicating entire chapters to her. However, despite this focus, she didn’t play a significant role in the story. She seemed to hold some importance solely because the author hinted at possibly using her character in a sequel.

Overall, the novel's plot was quite engaging. It provided a valuable opportunity to delve into the significance of immunizations and presented a thought-provoking exploration of the grim reality of biological weapons. The book's competent editing was another plus for me. I have deducted one star for the issues I mentioned, giving it an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Anyone who is a fan of suspenseful thrillers with a Robin Cook or Patricia Cornwell vibe will likely enjoy this one.

******
Invisible Threat
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Hi, Cara. Thank you for your thorough review of this book. Right from the word Polonium, you caught my interest. I read about Polonium, and its use in terrorism in the spy, action, thriller book Waterworks by Jack Winnick. You are right, biological warfare has been going on for a long time. I remember watching Garner Ted Armstrong warn us on T.V. about biological warfare in the water. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. It is only in the past 10 years that I have started to feel that it can affect me, a civilian. That being said, I am interested in this book. :techie-studyinggray:
User avatar
Runan
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 415
Joined: 14 Aug 2023, 12:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 39
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-runan.html
Latest Review: Stevie Tenderheart Books - Billy Jack (The Great Escape) by Steve William Laible

Post by Runan »

Measles outbreak, insider trading, and murders? This story has a lot happening that will surely keep me glued till the end. The author should have teased the readers a little by not displaying clear clues in the investigation. Nevertheless, the plot seems interesting enough to give it a shot. Also,I like how you structure and phrase your sentences in your review. It was enjoyable to read your review. :tiphat:
Runan
User avatar
Amy Luman
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 4882
Joined: 29 Mar 2021, 14:05
Currently Reading: Zona II
Bookshelf Size: 1011
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amy-luman.html
Latest Review: All the Targets by Noah Bond
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Amy Luman »

This is my kind of book! I don’t know why I am so captivated by stories of terrorism, but I am. Alan seems like a guy that was easily drawn into these events through association and I can identify with that. Maybe the stories get to me because they are about doing something that no one else knows about. Anyway, this is a great review. Thanks.
User avatar
RJ Reviews
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 403
Joined: 30 Jun 2023, 12:28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 64
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rj-reviews.html
Latest Review: The Trenches by D. Morrow Jr.
Reading Device: 1400697484

Post by RJ Reviews »

I am drooling! All the elements you mentioned are begging me to grab a copy ASAP! Biological warfare is certainly a promising trope from a great spy story. Inclusion of real-life historical events makes the narrative authentic. I loved reading your review. Thank you.
"The gods grow jealous of too much contentment anywhere, and they show their displeasure all of a sudden.” - R. K. Narayan, Maldudi Days
Donald Cecil Hufstedler
In It Together VIP
Posts: 231
Joined: 29 Jan 2024, 06:04
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 15
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-donald-cecil-hufstedler.html
Latest Review: Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren

Post by Donald Cecil Hufstedler »

The review provides a detailed analysis of the book "Invisible Threat" by Robert Hirsh. It highlights the engaging plot, the author's meticulous attention to details, and the incorporation of historical events. The reviewer appreciates the exploration of immunizations and the presentation of the grim reality of biological weapons. However, they mention some flaws such as predictable plot twists and character inconsistencies. Overall, the book seems to be a good read for fans of suspenseful thrillers in the vein of Robin Cook or Patricia Cornwell.
Pranav Dewangan
Book of the Month Participant
Posts: 225
Joined: 13 Dec 2023, 08:56
Currently Reading: The Science of Storytelling
Bookshelf Size: 30
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-pranav-dewangan.html
Latest Review: The Very Hungry Beagles Guide to Poop by M. Jackson, Lucky, Mr. Beckham, Peanut

Post by Pranav Dewangan »

The seamless integration of historical events into the narrative and the vivid descriptions really caught my attention. The exploration of diverse themes like immunizations, biological weapons, and the complexities of the characters' backgrounds adds an exciting layer to the thriller. I'm particularly intrigued by the author's deep understanding of the medical environment, making the scenes come to life.
Post Reply

Return to “Crime, Thrillers, Mystery and Horror Books”