August 1998
324 Pages
ISBN-10: 067101675X
ISBN-13: 978-0739400845

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With her acclaimed novels Harvest and Life Support, Tess Gerritsen has injected a powerful dose of adrenaline into the medical thriller. Now, in a new blockbuster, Gerritsen melds page-turning suspense with chilling realism as a small-town doctor races to unravel the roots of a violent outbreak — before it destroys everything she loves.

Lapped by the gentle waters of Locust Lake, the resort town of Tranquility, Maine, seems like the perfect spot for Dr. Claire Elliott to shelter her adolescent son, Noah, from the distractions of the big city and the lingering memory of his father’s death. But with the first snap of winter comes shocking news that puts her practice on the line: a teenage boy under her care has committed and appalling act of violence. And as Claire and all of Tranquility soon discover, it is just the start of a chain of lethal outbursts amount the town’s teenagers.

As the rash of disturbing behavior grows, Claire uncovers a horrifying secret: this is not the first time it has happened. Twice a century, the children of Tranquility lash out with deadly violence. Claire suspects there is a biological cause for the epidemic, and she fears that placid Locust Lake may conceal an insidious danger. As she races to save Tranquility -and her son-from harm, Claire discovers an even greater threat: a shocking conspiracy to manipulate nature and turn innocents to slaughter.

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Publishers Weekly

Gerritsen leaves the urban hospital setting of her first two successful thrillers (Harvest; Life Support) and steps into Stephen King territory — the troubled Maine town of Tranquility — with mixed results. The former doctor’s ability to create credible characters and make medical details accessible and exciting provide the book’s strongest moments, as Dr. Claire Elliot?recent widow from Baltimore?tries to make a go of her new life in Tranquility, where she has moved to get her son Noah, 14, away from dangerous influences. Irony of ironies: the country turns out to hold more savage dangers for the teen than the city ever did. Claire’s struggles with the boy, her failure so far to win a place for herself in the hearts of prospective patients and a possible romance with the town’s police chief are straightforward and moving. Harder to swallow is the book’s premise?that savage outbreaks of violence among Tranquility’s teenagers occur every 50-odd years, caused by natural or even supernatural factors. It’s Claire who makes the connection between recent murders and older attacks, and of course there’s the old “enemy of the people” subplot about not scaring off the tourist trade. The fact that Tranquility’s teenage problem has a scientific solution lets Dr. Elliot have a final moment of triumph, but you can’t help feeling that King would have made the story more powerful?and more fun. Major ad/promo; author tour; Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild super release; Mystery Guild main selection; simultaneous Simon & Schuster audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.