The Demon in the Freezer:  A True Story is exactly that–a true story–which makes it especially terrifying.  Author Richard Preston, who also wrote The Hot Zone and a novel calledThe Cobra Event could not have written a scarier tale if he was trying to pen a horror story.

The story begins in Boca Raton, where a man named Robert Stevens began feeling ill on October 2, 2001–and died of inhalation anthrax on October 5th.  As it turns out, this was the beginning of the anthrax threat that was never solved.  The anthrax was military grade . . . weapons grade material.

The tale turns to the smallpox virus, variola, eradicated in December, 1979.  Though smallpox no longer existed in nature, it still lived in freezers at two locations–the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and in Vector, Siberia’s Maximum Containment Laboratory

Preston is not only an excellent writer, but he does his homework.  The Demon in the Freezer is based on numerous interviews with health experts, researchers, and U.S. Intelligence agents.  Frighteningly, variola was brought back to life on both continents–in the U.S., to develop improved vaccines, and in Russia, to develop a biological weapon. 

Contention rages among scientists, some of whom believe smallpox should be eliminated from the face of the earth and others who believe we need to keep some on hand for vaccine development and research. 

Smallpox is the most dreadful disease, making even ebola look like a walk in the park.  To think the virus could get in the wrong hands . . . let’s just not think about it. 

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