If you breathe it will find you. That's what the cover of Germ says. And it's true. Too true.
A certain genetic research company has created the ultimate weapon: a fatal virus that seeks and destroys certain people. It can pick and choose, depending on the DNA imprinted on the virus. A list of random people of all races, ages, positions, and payrolls has been compiled and the virus has been put into circulation. If the virus is caught by someone whose DNA is not printed on the virus, it is simply a common cold. But that person becomes a carrier and will spread it to someone whose DNA the virus is seeking out.
An FBI agent's closest friend has been killed in a crime related to the virus. Now she has quit the agency and is going to investigate on her own. Along the way, she hooks up with two brothers, a doctor, and a pastor who have all also experienced things related to the virus. Only the they can stop it.
A newspaper reporter has been emailed a list of names. Seemingly random names of people all over the country. He begins calling them and comes to a startling conclusion.
A mysterious villain is chasing the ex-FBI agent and the two brothers around. But he's popping up everywhere. Even when they thought he was dead...
In the midst of all this, one old rich man knows who has unleashed the virus and why. And he's trying to use the trio to stop them. But they're running out of time...
This is definitely a five star idea, but as with all genetic thrillers, there is no good way to end them. The good thing is Robert did everything he could do with the idea, including inventing an original kind of serial killer, expanding upon every character, even those who only have one scene, and having a key character die at the end.
The other good thing is that the virus isn't overblown. The enemy is isolated to one place only, not all over the whole world. The villain has a purpose and a reason for the things he does. He isn't an animalistic character. He's a real person with issues.
This is what really brings it down to earth for the reader. All the characters are human; none are perfect. They all make mistake. That's the biggest battle of all.
Nevertheless, this book just came shy of the Elite List.