Book Review: Bite

Bite by Nick Louth

Tomorrow should be the greatest day of Erica Stroud-Jones's life. The brilliant young British scientist has found a revolutionary way to beat a deadly tropical disease.

Millions of lives could be saved, a Nobel Prize beckons.

She is in Amsterdam. Tomorrow she presents her secret research to a scientific conference. Watching her will be sceptics and rivals, admirers and enemies. Erica's own eyes will be on sculptor Max Carver, her new American love, to whom she wants to dedicate her achievement.

Tomorrow never comes.

Erica vanishes during the night. Max, a tough former coast guard, is determined to find her. As he digs for clues he finds jealousy, malice and cunning. But even he is shocked by the dark terror he finds at the heart of the woman he loves.

If you come to me with books about gene technology or other biological engineering you are definitely at the right address, so when I was approached for reviewing Bite I couldn't refuse. Bite was first published back in 2007 and Sphere, an imprint of Little Brown and Co. is reissuing this book, with Bite Nick Louth also made his debut in the horror/thriller genre. He is an award winning journalist and has written several pieces for big financial papers. 

When read that the title of this book was Bite and that something scientific was involved my first thought was something either with vampire or with werewolves. It's these two things that make popular introductions in these kind of book but well the getting bitten part in Bite is something different. The first chapter of the book really stands so vividly with me, it's creepy and whenever you are in a plane you will have serious fears. Nick Louth really kicked of his story in a grand way, and an airplane something deadly is released, not a fluid or a bomb is set off, but something that isn't detected by X-rays or any other means of airport security. After this scene though you are left pretty much in the dark of what it might be... The focus then picks up on the scientist Erica Stroud who is about present her research on a conference in Amsterdam on how to deal with the deadly tropical disease malaria. She has found something new on how to fight this disease and win. But Erica goes missing the night before she is to present her findings to the scientific community. One big shot in the field of malaria research claims that Erica's finding couldn't have been real if she "went missing". At the time of the conference something new pops-up as well. Something unheard of in the Netherlands. Yes a new strain of malaria. A strain that is immune against all known anti-malaria cures. I think you can already guess what just might have been on that plane? Anyway, now the whole scientific community is trying to find a way to explain how it got in Amsterdam in the first place but most importantly, how to cure it. Is it coincidence or is it not? On the plane that traveled to Amsterdam a big name in the pharmaceutical industry was present, who got bitten and infected with this new form of malaria. So now something extra is added in the mix. Now Erica wasn't alone in Amsterdam either, she was there with her boyfriend Max who goes on desperate search for her taking him places and he makes discoveries that he rather hadn't made. 

What gave the story of Bite for me an extra edge were the locations of the story and how Nick Louth managed to explore something of the past. As I said with my review of Claire North's Touch, taking the thriller elements to Europe and in Nick Louth's case to The Netherlands, my country, adds completely different view on it. I read plenty of thrillers set in America but reading about things, terrible thing happening in your own backyard is just different. It's more real, more dangerous. I do have to say that Nick Louth conjured up some very vivid images. I can't say that I know Amsterdam like the back of my hand, but Nick Louth did a very fine job just as with the other locations in The Netherlands. Now something that gives yet another dimension to the story was the secondary storyline of Erica in Cental Africa, it's a personal dairy and I can safely say that there is a lot of emotion hidden in this story. It alternates with the current storyline and leaves a very powerful impression. 

All this combined makes Bite a very interesting thriller. Nick Louth produces a very eventful and rollercoaster ride of a story but he also tackles something big in his story about the big companies. A small ethical debate that I know must be present in our current society.Bite is an easy read that you will enjoy, but it carries much more. It will leave an impression on you.


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