Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don Donaldson's The Judas Virus Thriller Predicts The Future!???

The Judas Virus

By Don Donaldson

"You'll have to pass an interview. It's not a sure thing that you'll be accepted."

"Into what? Some kind of clinical trial for a new drug?"
"A different kind of transplant." She hesitated, looking for a way to phrase it that wouldn't make the whole idea sound so desperate. But there was no other way to put it. "There a group at Monteagle Hospital, who are looking for the right candidate to receive a liver from a genetically altered strain of pigs they've developed."
"Pigs?" Wayne said, hardly believing he'd heard her correctly. "You want to put a pig organ in me? Is that all I am to you... someone to experiment on?"
"It's the only way I could think of to help you."
"Pigs...a pig organ. They can do that? And it'll work?"
"They think so, or they wouldn't try. But you'd be the first human they've ever worked with. They've had success transplanting pig livers to other primates, but you have to understand that the technique is entirely experimental. There'd be no guarantees."
"Why pigs?"
"Their organs are anatomically similar to humans, and they're the right size. And since we already use pigs for food, it doesn't create an ethical problem."
"How is this possible? Won't my immune system reject the organ immediately because it's not human?"
"They've altered the donor animals so their cells don't contain the surface markers that create the worst mismatch. And they have several line markers that mimic the various human blood types..."
"Wayne got up and began to pace. "A pig liver...It sounds bizarre..."

I don't know how old I was when I visited my uncle's farm during butchering time and saw a pig, headless after just losing it, jump and run away from my uncle... I also ran into the house but you couldn't get away--in the kitchen they were wrapping meat. I went to the basement where they were cleaning casings--one of them burst! The smell was unbelievable! Back up the stairs and out the door I went! I don't remember what I did then, but the memories I share today have never changed or left me. That was the last butchering for many, many years... His son still keeps pigs and I've been there...afterwards...while cleaning the meat and wrapping...That, I didn't mind! LOL

But, you know, living in the country gives you a different perspective. You are closer to animals, talk to them, watch them as they eat and even mate... So, I found that the proposal for transplanting a pig's liver was not so bizarre for me. I already knew that pigs were the closest anatomically to humans, probably from another medical thriller! So taking it as a next step, at least in fiction, was even kind of fun, given my country background...

"It's hard to explain...I don't really understand it
myself. I just felt...smothered. It's not that I didn't
love you. A part of me did, but another part couldn't
accept all the responsibility. And your mother and I,
we just were so different from each other."
"Did you ever hear of child support? Chris snapped.
"We could have used a hand."
"I've barely been able to support myself. I had a novel...
"I'm sure you don't think I have any right to feel like
I'm part of your accomplishment, but I do. I have to,
because you're the only element in my whole
miserable life that has amounted to anything. You
never knew it, but I was at your medical school
graduation, feeling as proud as any of the other
"This made Chris even angrier. She was the injured
party here. She was the one entitled to throw the
spears, but now with his self-pitying whining he was
try to deprive her of even that. Infuriating as this was,
his obviously grave condition kept her from

No matter what her adult conscious may say, little
Chrissy could not bring herself to agree to give her
father part of her liver (she later found that she
would not be able to anyway...). But she did
remember a friend of hers who was doing research
and have an experimental program for which her
father might be eligible. His liver had become 
diseased due to alcoholism. He had been sober for
just three months. Would it be possible?

Michael Boyer was thrilled to have a potential 
candidate for his program and began to immediately
plan to schedule a meeting of the transplant team.
But while he was talking to Chris, in whom he'd long
had a personal interest, he did a little negotiation... 
would she take on her normal duties on the team since
they presently had a vacancy in their position?

So a majority vote on the team is achieved, and the
surgery is a go...

And the surgery is deemed successful; the patient
proves to be doing better than expected...

But...the nurses who cared for Wayne both were
infected somehow...and died!

Then one of the nurses' husbands...

Then two more...patients who had been in the 
hospital at the same time...

Now in case you don't remember this author, he's
the one that wrote Louisiana Fever...and  I 
suggested that you have a can of bug spray ready 
when you started reading...

Now there was one danger that they hadn't been able to solve yet. Pigs had been infected with a unique class of viruses known as retroviruses which were inherited in each litter of pigs...

But, let's go back a minute...

The man who seriously needs a liver transplant was Wayne Collins. He had just come to visit his only daughter nearly 30 years after he had deserted Chris Collins and her mother...

Chris was now a medical director of infection control for Good Samaritan hospital. She was shocked when she learned that her father was there to see her...

And he soon explained why...Would she be willing to donate part of her liver for a transplant???

While Chris was a logical, solid professional, where her father was concerned, she was still that little girl--she immediately became angry and practically ran to where he was. Then she slowed as they awkwardly stared at each other... She asked for identification. And the first question she asked was, "Why did you do it?

Chris was like me, when she was stressed or angry, she had flashback nightmares and Chris' took her back to when she was babysat, or should I say, tortured by an old woman who locked her in a closet and then left her to...meditate... Yikes!
"It never took very long. By the time Chrissy counted to a hundred, she could feel the first silverfish crawling like a tickling feather up her leg. Then they came by the scores,
exploring many and so curious, she couldn't brush them all away.
"They didn't bite, so she just let them have their way, holding in the scream that pushed at the back of her throat as they traveled over her skin. Today, for some reason, it seemed more horrible than usual, their feet more probing, their numbers larger...
"She never spoke while in the closet. What was the point?
But today, with her father so near and the silverfish so numerous, she moaned, " me. me."

Now, you really didn't think that a Don Donaldson thriller was going to be that easy to solve, did you?

In the Prologue and every once in awhile, you'll hear about what happened when fourteen Kazakhstanis had died years ago... Now what these dear little mice once carried was there, at the same hospital where the transplant was taking place...

As much as I enjoyed Louisiana Fever, this thriller
was much more complex and the ending was coming before I picked up on the one-word clue that did it for me. Before then, I was guessing along with everybody else, including the characters!

Tess Gerritsen said it best already:
:Donaldson is superb at spinning medical fact into gripping suspense." And me, along with the goosebumps, I love the scary scenes he meticulously describes to make us squirm!

Medical Thriller lovers - Do check this out. If you like Gerritsen, take her advice and grab a book of this medical expert who gives us, hard to diagnose diseases,  gutsy blood and gore and scary little critters that come in the dark!  I was a fan after my first read...and now have him on my favorite author list! 


Don Donaldson, who also writes as D. J. Donaldson, holds a Ph.D. in human anatomy. In his professional career, he has taught microscopic anatomy to over 5,000 medical and dental students and published dozens of research papers on wound healing. He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers.

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