Lockdown: Peter May
A pandemic is defined as a kind of epidemic which has spread across a wider geographical range rather than an epidemic a pandemic affects a significant population. The Bird Flu of 2005 is the focus of Lockdown where we learn, visualize, and come to a greater understanding of exactly how deadly a pandemic really is. The Bird flu or avian flu is at the heart of this novel which is an infectious virus that spreads among bird and in rare cases can affect humans.
There are four strains that caused concern in humans: H5N1, H7N9, H5N6 and H5N8. The first three do not infect people as easily and are not usually spread from person to person but within this novel you will learn just how deadly this flu is. One is at the center of this novel.
The novel opens with a scene that will stay with readers for a long time as a holdall is found and inside of it are bones. An entire body of bones just thrown in this bag and in a hole causing the construction of a temporary hospital to be halted to the anger of the workman and those in charge. DCI Jack McNeil is about to finally end his career and has one more day but not before being called to take charge of this scene and decide how to handle it.
As the bones are collected and they are placed forensic odontological Amy Wu comes into the picture placing them in anatomical order. The sight of these bones was chilling as nothing was left of this young child giving her little dignity in death. With the pandemic always in the forefront certain precautions had to be taken and just the sight of the masks worn, police barricades and soldiers armed is gripping.
McNeil is at the murder sight and has taken steps to cordon off different parts for samples to be collected. Yellow and black crime scene tape was around the perimeter and a six-man team with bootees and plastic caps moved over each square. The angry work force constructing a temporary hospital stood their ground, but McNeil won in the end. Money is at the heart of completing the job and the perks even more. Sirens blared as the death toll rises from this deadly flu. A simple ticket found there with printing blurred might hold the key to finding out who dropped the bones in the hole.
Someone does not want these bones identified as we learn the race, age, and physical characteristics of this ten-year-old child. He calls himself Pinkie and he is dangerous. His boss gives him the word when he learns that the guy who he chose for the job dropped the bones in a place where they were found. His boss’s car, careful where he travels and not getting stopped by the police or soldiers, he carefully hides in plain sight, but Charlie is no longer of use to them and another body must be disposed. But his primary goal is to make sure the bones are not identified is Amy safe? She is in a wheelchair giving us pause to worry.
McNeil might be retiring but something happens that causes him to harden, become vulnerable as his ex-wife informs him that his son is in the hospital with this deadly flu. The coldness and unfeeling if they hospital staff are unconcerned about the patients and could care less about their family members. Seeing Sean reminded him of how things were with him as a child, his failed marriage and Martha clinging to him but the finality if learning his son’s fate was heartbreaking.
Instead of going home Jack is determined to find out who killed this child and who buried the bones. Events get tense and when he learns who had the ticket, the name and then Jack gets attacked by several teens but who shoots them and has his back?
Ronnie Kazinski was supposed to sneak the bones into Battersea and dump them in the furnace. They wanted the whole body in there but that was impossible, so he took the bones. He did not burn them because the hole he threw them in was going to get filled in with concrete. Bit someone was listening, and Ronnie was gone, and he was attacked. Jonathan Flight was a sculptor and his work dark and filled with human bodies violated and mutilated . His conversation with him was hard core, cold and Flight showed no emotion at all and even though Ronnie was at the Black Ice Club and this was Flight’s business card he did budge. Someone was watching the action and new that McNeil was talking to Flight and that meant another person that had to be eliminated. Mr. Smith was the person on top and Pinkie would not want his wrath, so he carries out his wishes .
Amy is dealing with the reconstruction, but it is affecting her mental state and she learns that the victim had the flu but one that was man made.
The symptoms are real and the abdominal pain, vomiting is just two of what people experience as the author explains the headaches, muscle aches and high temperatures but the hospital staffs are not able to save most of the patients.
to other types of flu. High temperature aching muscles and headache. Like Covid 19 the person is contagious, they must be isolated in the hospital and the treatment may or may not work.
The air is stale, the stench and smells are enough to make you nauseous and sick and the destruction, the effects of the looting and the devastation is unsettling, and the tensions and sadness is all around everyone. Fear is the prime factor and although health care workers and police personnel are given special medicine to take to prevent the illness, McNeil does not take it and places himself in a bad position and yet even though he’s about to retire for some reason he needs to bring justice for this unknown child.
McNeil is smart and somehow, he found out where this young child lived and encountered someone near the house trying to break in. Dr. Sara Castelli would become his partner in this when they search the house that this child lived in, learned where she had been for the summer and the startling revelation as to how and why this pandemic began and why this child was the catalyst. Fear sets in a lies and betrayals are told as Amy is placed in danger by someone she trusted and the one person that she shared information with turns out to be giving information to the one person going by the name Mr. Smith who created this pandemic for profit. FluKill is the drug that would cure anyone with this flu or prevent someone from getting it. Stein- Francks was on the verge of ruin when the orders for FluKill were cancelled when the pandemic or deaths were lowered, and they realized that the cause or the birds were being killed. So, someone decided to take a young child and create a form of this flu a man-made one, infect the child, send her to camp to infect others and hopefully more deaths. When you hear the voice of this person who feels justified in his actions and he comes face to face with McNeil you will not believe what you see and hear. An ending that is filled with suspense, actions, deaths and a man who shows no remorse in his actions and one criminal who is responsible for the deaths of so many has a choice to make: his boss or McNeil!
Some endings leave you wondering what will happen to McNeil. Will he survive? What about Amy? Can the doctors and the drug companies come to some type of agreement or way to create a vaccine, stop this pandemic and realize that the flu mutated and they need to find a way to stop what someone sick and diabolical created? A flu for profit? Will it end or will this world be on permanent Lockdown?
Author Peter May sets the bar high with this timely novel reminding us that the Coronavirus is deadly and dangerous, and we hope it does not copy the Bird Flu and mutates.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
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