The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly
Published: 15 October 2010
Pages: 401 (Kindle)
Genre/s: Post-Apocalyptic, Virus
Source: For review
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In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent.
When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them. He particularly knows that strict isolation is the only guaranteed way to protect his family from the new disease. With his family and home prepared for an extended period of seclusion, Alex has few real concerns about the growing pandemic.
But as the deadliest pandemic in human history ravages northern New England, and starts to unravel the fabric of their Maine neighborhood, he starts to realize that the flu itself is the least of his problems. A mounting scarcity of food and critical supplies turns most of the neighbors against him, and Alex is forced to confront their unexpected hostility before it goes too far.
Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, the very face of human evil arrives on Durham Rd. and threatens destroy them all. Alex and his few remaining friends band together to protect the neighborhood from a threat far deadlier than the flu, as they edge closer to the inevitable confrontation that will test the limits of their humanity.
The Jakarta Pandemic is a story of one of the most terrifying possibilities – a global flu pandemic racing across the world, devastating food supplies, electricity and telephone service, law and order, and most scary of all, medical care for those who have contracted the flu.
Vigilant, organized and more than a little paranoid, Alex has been preparing for such an event, and has everything all planned. However, fear and hunger drive other less-prepared people around him to take desperate measures.
The story doesn’t kick into high gear for quite a long time, but it still kept my interest – particularly the news reports and specialist interviews which give a lot of information on the beginning and progression of the pandemic across the globe and the preparations made by Alex and his family for their self-imposed quarantine.
The main characters, Alex and Kate Fletcher, are both likeable, and their interactions are believable and sometimes even amusing (hard to achieve in a book with such a somber story), and the secondary characters are a perfect mixture of likeable, annoying and slightly creepy. And once things get dicey, their true colours emerge.
The Jakarta Pandemic is well written – the dialogue is believable and fluid, the story is engaging and entertaining and the focus on the lead-up to the pandemic helps to build tension without being preachy.
My one (very) minor criticism is the overly-detailed descriptions of the neighbourhood, what characters are wearing, and what they are eating etc – I don’t really need to know what colour pyjamas Kate was wearing every day!