Search Results for 'cobra event'


It’s All Hallow’s Eve tonight___a perfect time to tuck yourself between the covers of a good, scary read. Oooooooo……now to shiver and shake with the ghoulish and the macabre.

But, what can be more chilling than a story with the probability that it could be terrifyingly real?  A story that could happen today, tomorrow, next month or ten years hence but may be percolating secretly under our very noses?

So, chuck the vampires, ghosts, and goblins this year and settle in with The Cobra Event.  It terrified a President*; it will scare the bejesus out of you.

Author : Richard Preston

Release Date : 1997
ISBN : 0-245-40997-3
Pages : 422

A teen-age schoolgirl dies suddenly in bloody, gruesome spasms.  Soon after, previously healthy people succumb violently and inexplicably to the same terrifying end.  Dr. Alice Austen, CDC pathologist, races to identify the killer pathogen…  Thus starts a harrowing investigation  into bio-terrorism.

“Ho-hum”, you’re probably thinking, “…another biotech thriller…not very halloweenish, is it?”  But you want to be scared; and, Richard Preston is no ordinary techno-thriller author.  He writes with the intense objective of rendering us, acutely aware of the genuine, immediate threats facing humanity today.  I feel Preston must have had the urgent need to share his private alarm and agitation; and what more clever way than to couch his facts in a racy, heart-pounding fictional story that’s guaranteed to have mass appeal and thereby higher public awareness and attention to bio warfare.

If you believe in devils, believe in microscopic demons that can transform the world into a living Hell.  Imagine a pandemic of global proportions, the like that can eclipse the horrors of the black plague in the 14th century.  Grave possibilities are magnified to terrifying levels when the threat can be carried out anywhere, by anyone, psychologically imbalanced enough and with the know-how to concoct and release fast-acting lethal viruses, genetically modified to survive modern medicines.

Preston’s incredibly detailed narratives reveal his intimate knowledge and meticulous research in everything he touches on in this book.  One could actually surmise that he has probably dabbled in real autopsies and spied rogue labs.  My edition even has a photo of the baculovirus, the real germs on which this fictional Cobra virus is based on.  In his afterword, “The Reality Behind the Cobra Event”, Preston writes :

“I pursued the subject of biological weapons with the same reporting methods I’ve used for my previous books, which were nonfiction.  The nonfiction roots of this book run deep.”

“The transparent substance I call ‘viral glass’ in this book is an actual material. I have chosen not to give its technical name or describe it too precisely.  I have deliberately distorted and blurred certain key aspects of the bioweapons-making process so as not to publish a deployable recipe.”

“The natural strain of the virus in this book is real, and engineered strains of it have been developed with a broadened host range.  The virus has great peaceful potential because it is so versatile.  Its versatility also makes it a potential weapon.  I have imagined the engineered form of the virus that appears here as Cobra, but it should be taken as one example of a wide range of possibilities that actually exist for the construction of advanced bio-weapons.  The knowledge is public, the techniques are commonplace.  The dark apple hangs on the tree.”

“What is dangerous is human intent…To think that the power of the genetic code is not being bent toward weapons is to ignore the growing body of evidence, the lessons of history, and the reality of human nature.  As Thucydides pointed out, hope is an expensive commodity.  It makes better sense to be prepared.”

So what’s not to be afraid of, if our demons can simply be tank-brewed in an obscure lab in any location___in a top secret military facility, your neighbour’s basement, or even at the back of a delivery van?  The scare is here and it is REAL!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

*“THE BOOK THAT PETRIFIED THE PRESIDENT :  “Mr. Clinton was so alarmed by…THE COBRA EVENT, which portrays a lone terrorist’s attack on New York City with a genetically engineered virus—that he instructed intelligence experts to evaluate its credibility.” — The New York Times

My Mark : Excellent

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Whew!  Finished this book in the nick of time before the end of the R.I.P. IV Challenge.  My copy is an old,  borrowed book from my Aunt Cristie with yellowed pages and the title cover almost falling apart at its seams.  It’s so old that some of you haven’t probably even been born yet when this was published.

So, this is my book for the Halloween season,  my last one for the R.I.P. IV , and my sixth novel down for the Fall Into Reading 2009 Challenge.

Author :  John G. Fuller

Copyright :  1976

This Edition’s Publication Date :  January 1978  (Paperback)

Publisher :  Berkley Publishing Corporation

ISBN-10: 425-03553-0

The Story :

In December 29, 1972, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades en route from New York to Miami.  One hundred one people died including  veteran pilots Captain Robert Loft, First Officer Albert Stockstill and Second Officer Donald Repo.  Miraculously, though, there were some survivors, among them a baby and a dog.  The cause of the crash was attributed to the failure of the flight crew to monitor the flight instruments while trying to solve the problem of an indicator landing gear light.  From a holding flight level of 2,000 feet, the plane  steadily decreased in altitude, imperceptibly until the last few seconds.

This disaster is a true documented story that happened way back in the early seventies.  Significantly, EAL Flight 401 was the first wide body plane to crash and at that time, catalogued as one of the worst airline catastrophes in the U.S.   But what really made this flight so famous were the subsequent reports of apparitions onboard other Eastern Airlines aircrafts which were fitted with good working parts salvaged from the luckless plane.  These ghost stories were well known inside the airline industry.

Flight crew members including some pilots and several passengers attest to seeing Captain Loft seated in the jumpseat a few times, simply looking straight ahead.  The ghost of Second Officer Don Repo, however, made frequent appearances to the flight crew and spoke to them to either warn of impending danger or to show damaged parts or equipment.  At one point,  he was reported to have said that he would never allow another Eastern Airlines plane to crash again.  Although he occasionally appeared in ways that were really hair-rasingly creepy (at one time appearing with only his head in a galley oven) all who encountered the ghosts agree that these spirits were benevolent and were there to protect their flights.

Intrigued with the consistency of the accounts and the fact that Eastern Airlines had resorted to concealment tactics which involved removal of many pages from the flight logbook, repeated subtle company threats and outright denials, the author did extensive research into the encounters to establish whether there really is a life after death and if we all indeed have a soul.

The Review :

The first half of the book details the crash in all its miserable, heart-wrenching detail.  It is quite a gripping account as you visualize the enormity of the catastrophe — how all lives are changed for the survivors, for all the passengers’ families and close friends, and also for the rescuers who have to face the gruesome  carnage.

The ghost stories appear on the second half .  If you’re leaning toward believing their realism, it is positively hairy to know that ghosts appear in 3-D so much so that they appear genuinely alive, like you and me.  More so, that they can chillingly appear with only a body part visible; in this case, only the flight engineer’s head looking at the stewardesses from inside an oven.  Brrrr!!!  (The uniformed man with the opaque white eyes on the front cover actually give me the creeps.)

As entertaining as these ghost stories were, and should have been the life of the book, I lost a bit of interest somewhere around the middle.   I found the number of accounts paltry.  I wish the author treated his readers to a lot more, as he had stated he had a lot of material on 401’s appartions that goaded him to delve into the question of life after death.  So, the middle of the second part does, sadly begin to nosedive a bit with the author’s lengthy account of how he went about his research.  He relates that he discovered mediums in the aviation industry to communicate with the ghosts of the flight crew, dabbled in ouija board, etc.  Although these are supposed to be fascinating in themselves,   his way of writing just didn’t quite make it so.  The ghost stories were those buoying up the flagging narrative.

His account toward the end though, was interesting; but if you didn’t quite believe it, you’d say absurd.

To Read Or Not To Read :

If you’ve even half a mind to believe in ghosts, other dimensions, and psychics, this should kick up your Halloween night, as everything is  purportedly bone-chillingly real.

Funny, The Ghost of Flight 401 is the second semi-non-fiction read I’ve proposed for Halloween. (The Historian would have been my choice though; The book is a class on its own; but I picked it up way too early for the 31st.)   I’m actually not sure whether to categorize this book as fiction or non-fiction; but I’m more inclined to say non-fiction because I do believe in souls and in the afterlife.  Last year,  I reviewed a nail-biting worry into the possibilities of the future in The Cobra Event, a fictitious story running on a lot of very true, very terrifying documented facts.

In A Nutshell:

For his conclusion, Fuller argues on the reality of the apparitions on some of these ff. points:

1.  Pilots involved are all sane, well-adjusted, down-to-earth individuals with excellent powers of observation and definitely not prone to exaggeration.

2.  “There are too many people involved in the story.  They all check out.”

3. “The descriptions given us from widely separated sources are all similar, and in many cases identical.  Most of the parties involved did not know each other, so there was no chance of collusion.”

4. “Groups of people, including passengers, claim to have seen the reappearances.  They could not all have been hallucinating.”

5.  “Why would all crew members we interviewed make this story up — IT’S NOT THAT GOOD A JOKE!

On this note,  I leave it up to you to decide whether Fuller was right or simply a kook.

But whatever you decide, just enjoy the book for what it’s worth.  Have a scary HALLOWEEN

My Mark :  Very Good!

In arranging the list alphabetically, I have ignored the articles (A, An, The) that precede most titles.

A

Anansi Boys by :  Neil Gaiman

Attila : The Gathering of the Storm by : William Napier

Attila : The Judgement by :  William Napier

Avalon by :  Anya Seton

B

Before the Dawn by :  Nicholas Wade

Bel Canto by :  Ann Patchett

The Black Angel by: John Connolly

The Boleyn Inheritance by: Philippa Gregory

The Book of Fate by :  Brad Meltzer

The Book of Joe by :  Jonathan Tropper

The Bookman’s Promise by:  John Dunning

C

Chasing Harry Winston by: Lauren Weisberger

Child 44 by :  Tom Rob Smith

Chocolat by :  Joanne Harris

The Cobra Event by :  Richard Preston

Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister by :  Gregory Maguire

The Constant Gardener by :  John Le Carre

D

Danse Macabre by :  Laurell K. Hamilton

Day of Confession by :  Allan Folsom

Death Match by :  Lincoln Child

E

The Enemy by: Lee Child

The Eyre Affair by :  Jasper Fforde

Exile by :  Richard North Patterson

F

Fashion Babylon by :  Imogen Edwards – Jones

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by : Mitch Albom

Full Bloom by :  Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

G

Gates of Fire by  :   Steven Pressfield

Geisha of Gion by  :  Mineko Iwasaki

The Ghost of Flight 401 by :  John G. Fuller

The Gilded Chamber : A Novel of Queen Esther  by :  Rebecca Kohn

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by :  Gordon Dahlquist

Good Omens by :  Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

H

The Handmaid”s Tale by: Margaret Atwood

Heart-Shaped Box by: Joe Hill

The Historian by :  Elizabeth Kostova

The Host by : Stephenie Meyer

Hush, Hush by :  Becca Fitzpatrick

I

The Ice Queen by: Alice Hoffman

J

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by: Susanna Clarke

K

Kabul Beauty School by : Deborah Rodriguez

L

Last of the Amazons by :  Steven Pressfield

The Last Time I Saw Mother by :  Arlene J. Chai

The Lightning Thief by :  Rick Riordan

The Little Lady Agency by :  Hester Browne

The Lost Diary of Don Juan by : Douglas Carlton Adams

Love In the Time of Cholera by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love Underground by: Alicia Fields

The Lovely Bones by : Alice Sebold

M

The Machiavelli Covenant by: Allan Folsom

Map of Bones by :  James Rollins

Memoirs of A Geisha by :  Arthur Golden

Men In Kilts by: Katie McAlister

Merrick by  :  Anne Rice

Microtrends by Mark J. Penn

N

The Nativity Story by :  Angela Hunt

O

The Other Boleyn Girl by: Philippa Gregory

P

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series)  by :  Rick Riordan

  • The Lightning Thief (1)
  • The Sea of Monsters (2)
  • The Titan’s Curse (3)
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth (4)
  • The Last Olympian (5)

The Pillars of the Earth by : Ken Follet

Pirate Latitudes by :  Michael Crichton

Princess : The True Story of Life Inside Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family  by : Jean Sasson

Q

R

Rachel & Leah (Women of Genesis) by:  Orson Scott Card

Rebekah (Women of Genesis) by:  Orson Scott Card

The Reincarnationist by :  M. J. Rose

Remember Me? by : Sophie Kinsella

The Ruins by :  Scott Smith

S

The Scot, The Witch and the Wardrobe by :  Annette Blair

Second Nature by :  Alice Hoffman

The Secret Ingredient by :  Jane Heller

Set In Stone by :  Linda Newbery

The Shack by :  William P. Young

She May Not Leave by :  Fay Weldon

Son Of A Witch by :  Gregory Maguire

A Song of Fire and Ice ( Series ) by : George R. R. Martin

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows
  • A Dance with Dragons

T

Temeraire Series  by : Naomi Novik

Thanks For The Memories by : Cecelia Ahern

The 5th Witch by :  Graham Masterton

The Time Traveler’s Wife by: Audrey Niffeneger

Tongue In Chic by :  Christina Dodd

Tuesdays With Morrie by :  Mitch Albom

Twice Kissed by  :  Lisa Jackson

U

V

Vampirates :  Demons of the Ocean (Book 1) by:  Justin Somper

The Vampire Who Loved Me by : Teresa Medeiros

W

Waiting by :  Frank M. Robinson

The Wise Woman by: Philippa Gregory

The Witch of Cologne by :  Tobsha Learner

World Without End by :  Ken Follet

X

Y

Z

Reviews for 2008 (Oct. – Dec.) :

Attila : The Gathering of the Storm by : William Napier

A Song of Fire and Ice ( Series ) by : George R. R. Martin

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows
  • A Dance with Dragons


Bel Canto by:  Ann Patchett

Chasing Harry Winston by: Lauren Weisberger

Heart-Shaped Box by: Joe Hill

Kabul Beauty School by : Deborah Rodriguez

Love In the Time of Cholera by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love Underground by: Alicia Fields

Men In Kilts by: Katie McAlister

Microtrends by Mark J. Penn

The Black Angel by: John Connolly

The Cobra Event by:  Richard Preston

The Enemy by: Lee Child

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by : Mitch Albom

The Handmaid”s Tale by: Margaret Atwood

The Host by : Stephenie Meyer

The Ice Queen by: Alice Hoffman

The Lost Diary of Don Juan by : Douglas Carlton Adams

The Lovely Bones by : Alice Sebold

The Machiavelli Covenant by: Allan Folsom

The Other Boleyn Girl by: Philippa Gregory

The Time Traveler’s Wife by: Audrey Niffeneger

The Vampire Who Loved Me by : Teresa Medeiros

The Wise Woman by: Philippa Gregory

Tuesdays With Morrie by :  Mitch Albom

Reviews for 2009 :

Attila : The Judgement by :  William Napier

Avalon by :  Anya Seton

Before the Dawn by:  Nicholas Wade

Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister by :  Gregory Maguire

Danse Macabre by :  Laurell K. Hamilton

Day of Confession by :  Allan Folsom

Death Match by :  Lincoln Child

Exile by :  Richard North Patterson

Fashion Babylon by :  Imogen Edwards-Jones

Full Bloom by :  Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Gates Of Fire by :  Steven Pressfield

Geisha of Gion by :  Mineko Iwasaki

Good Omens by :  Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by  :  Susanna Clarke

Map of Bones by :  James Rollins

Memoirs Of A Geisha by :  Arthur Golden

Merrick by :  Anne Rice

Princess : The True Story of Life Inside Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family  by : Jean Sasson

Rachel & Leah (Women of Genesis) by :  Orson Scott Card

Rebekah (Women of Genesis) by:  Orson Scott Card

Remember Me? by : Sophie Kinsella

Second Nature by  :   Alice Hoffman

Thanks For The Memories by:  Cecelia Ahern

The 5th Witch by :  Graham Masterton

The Boleyn Inheritance by: Philippa Gregory

The Book of Joe by :  Jonathan Tropper

The Bookman’s Promise by :  John Dunning

The Eyre Affair by :  Jasper Fforde

The Ghost of Flight 401 by :  John G. Fuller

The Gilded Chamber :  A Novel of Queen Esther  by:  Rebecca Kohn

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by : Gordon Dahlquist

The Historian by : Elizabeth Kostova

The Last Time I Saw Mother by :  Arlene J. Chai

The Nativity Story by  :  Angela Hunt

The Pillars of the Earth by:  Ken Follet

The Ruins by : Scott Smith

The Scot, The Witch and The Wardrobe by :  Annette Blair

The Shack by :  William P. Young

The Witch of Cologne by :  Tobsha Learner

Tongue In Chic by :  Christina Dodd

Twice Kissed by  :  Lisa Jackson

Waiting by :  Frank M. Robinson

World Without End by:  Ken Follet