A dark mystery/suspense, The Black Death of Babylon is atmospheric, enigmatic, and a thrill. Imagine the lovechild of Fringe, The X-Files, The Masque of the Red Death, and Indiana Jones. Weird? You'll be surprised at how well McFadden manages to pull this one out.
The characters are interesting and the reader is treated not only with the mystery behind the killings, but with the many secrets every character seems to be holding up. However, I must say the main character, Don Oberbier, is a hard sale for the reader. He is rude, arrogant, and a jerk who puts people through hell just for the kicks. Now, this is the guy we will follow through the ordeal and the one for which the reader must root...like I said, a tough sell. The supporting characters are better rounded, though, and they are in fact the ones with whom I connected and for which I rooted, so I still enjoyed the ride.
As much as a mystery, The Black Death of Babylon is a Science Fiction that uses the world of Scientific Investigation to propel us into the fear of technology and knowledge without moral boundaries. The science behind the story is pretty sound and allows the reader a rare insight into the dog-eat-dog world of scientific discovery. A nice treat that will also let you wonder just how scary it is to know that a handful of people are in absolute control of the deathliest viruses/bacterias known to mankind. True story kids. Ask the CDC.
My regular readers know I review horror mostly and when I dare out of the genre the results are a gamble. With McFadden's work I was pleasantly surprised and I'm happy to say to my non-horror-readers that this is a great book for everyone. If you enjoy Fringe, this is a book for you, its mysteries will have you all guessing to the very last page.