Second time through this – the first was almost 12 years ago, and not recalled. Part of a series of books featuring forensic pathologist Joanna Blalock, this one finds her working in LA on a baby who died from apparent cholera. She is whisked away though to join a team called ETOX, a government entity formed to take care of emerging possible extraterrestrial organisms. A boat was found in the Alaskan sea, with a couple dead, and a baby still alive. It appeared they died almost instantly. They had pickaxes in an iceberg that had shimmery stuff in it, and moored their boat to it. Inside the cabin, they were apparently melting down the ice in an attempt to get what they thought were rare minerals or ores. The coastguardsman who found them came back out of the cabin, gasping and wheezing, and died immediately. So the team was formed aboard an enormous ship, retrofitted to hold the iceberg inside a plexiglass shield, and to have labs, etc. to study it. Joanna is brought in to autopsy the guardsman, and others, including an old flame, to study the organism, if they can find the source of the organism. They think it is a bacteria, but aren’t sure, since they can’t grow it out in culture, or produce the toxin from it. Stymied, things begin to happen – people get sick, and others are murdered. And what appeared to be a routine assignment turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, as the unthinkable happens. Interesting strong female character, but not many others are well drawn, as they aren’t the focus of the books. Exciting, but not enough to blow me away. Good medical thriller.
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