Extract from The Cure by Glenn Cooper
Theresa Gonzalez, the Baltimore Medical x-ray tech, was in a middle seat in coach silently cursing. She had been up since before dawn to catch an early flight from BWI to Miami. As the morning progressed, her throat was getting scratchy and she was starting to feel chesty.
She wound up saying, rather than thinking one of her “damn-its” and the elderly man in the window seat said, “Excuse me, did you say something?”
“I apologize,” she said, hacking into a tissue. “I’m going on vacation and I think I’m catching a cold.”
The man was pleasant enough. “Don’t you hate it when that happens?”
“I think I know who coughed on me.”
“Well I hope you won’t do the same to me,” he said cheerfully.
“I’ll be careful.”
“Are you staying in Miami?” he asked.
“I’m boarding a cruise there.”
“That’s wonderful. Where to?”
“The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas. I can’t wait.”
She coughed again but this time she was a little slow with her tissue. He must have felt some spray land on his forearm because he dabbed at it with a napkin.
“I apologize,” she repeated.
The man’s smile faded. He put the armrest down and pressed himself against the window.
The stewardess who handed Gonzalez a can of soda and a bag of chips would fly on to Dallas later in the day to attend a training seminar with flight attendants from twenty states.
That night, the window-seat passenger had dinner in Coral Gables with his three elementary-school grandkids, his daughter, a pharmaceutical sales rep with a busy schedule for the next day, and his son-in-law, an accountant who had an early tee-time in a foursome that included a Delta pilot who would fly to London Gatwick in the evening.
Terry Gonzalez, though a little feverish, had her first on-board meal with eleven randomly assigned passengers from five states, coughing her way through the appetizers and entrée before excusing herself. In the morning she was feeling too ill to leave her cabin, but the rest of her dinner companions disembarked at their first port-of-call in Nassau where some of them had lunch at a café next to a table of Japanese tourists on their next-to-last day of holiday. One couple stopped a Swede on the street on his final day of a business trip to see if he knew how to get to the pirate museum. Another couple asked an Italian schoolteacher to take their photo.
And so it began.
If you catch it, you forget everything. Your only hope is the cure…
He wanted to cure Alzheimer’s Disease…
Single parent and neurologist Dr. Jamie Abbott makes a key contribution to treating Alzheimer’s Disease. But the principal investigator short-circuits the study safeguards, releasing a highly contagious virus that wipes the host’s memories. His daughter is one of the first victims.
As the virus spreads and civil order breaks down, Jamie embarks on a perilous cross-country journey. He needs to reach Dr. Mandy Alexander. She has the other half of a potential cure.
If he fails, he’ll leave most of mankind to the oblivion of total amnesia.
Glenn Cooper is a Harvard-trained infectious diseases physician who became the CEO of a large public biotech company in Massachusetts. He sold his company in 2009, about the time that his first novel, Library of the Dead, was published. He has been a full-time writer ever since, with fourteen top-ten bestselling thrillers published in thirty translations, and seven million copies sold. A TV series based on his first trilogy is in development.