Reviews for “A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus”

JJV Cover

Reviews for A Jerk, A Jihad, and A Virus     

Christine DeSmet, mystery author and screenwriter, Master Class writing instructor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies

“This fast-paced, smart, witty, and tautly written thriller explodes with an international setting and a great cast of characters including the unlikely hero-a young university bovine virus researcher in St. Paul, Minnesota. The author gives us high stakes with incredible details, creating an authentic and fascinating look inside university labs and politics as well as a jihadist plot that takes our hero around the globe to Cairo and back. Gary Jones is a great new voice on the thriller novel scene. A Jerk, A Jijad and a Virus is a highly recommended read.”


 Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite , Completed on: 08/17/2016

Review Rating: 5 stars

Full Text: Jerk, A Jihad And A Virus by Gary Jones unravels in a laboratory at the University of Minnesota where veterinary graduate students Jason Mitchell and Ann Hartman are experimenting on bovine coronations (BCV). When a visiting Chinese graduate student, infected by the SARS virus, developed a strange case of pneumonia after getting into contact with the laboratory calves, a hybrid BCV-SARS virus is discovered. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) subsequently isolates the virus and the FBI is notified for fears that it can be used as a biological weapon. When a vial containing the virus disappears from the lab freezer and ends up in Yemen, Jason is recruited by the CIA to stop Ahmed, a former student, from producing the dangerous virus for jihadists.

Jerk, A Jihad And A Virus is both informative and witty, and it is very obvious that author Gary Jones knows exactly what he is talking about. A veterinarian and a microbiologist by profession, he describes the atmosphere in the graduate school with a bit of sarcasm and a healthy dose of humor. And as we follow the abrasive Ahmed on his way to Yemen, we can vividly see and smell the Arab cities he passes through because of Jones’ unique descriptive style. Fast-paced and clever, this highly engaging thriller introduces us to a number of interesting characters and takes us halfway around the world. And it certainly is an amazing trip!


Ilana WD (Reviewer) NetGalley, March 8, 2016.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Full Text: Fine humour and a good story! I’ve read it in a couple of hours and really like it!


Jean Lowery (Librarian) Net Galley, March 31, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Full Text: So many nights the national news opens with horrific acts of Jihad being committed all over the world. Here is a tale of Jihad that would never make the news. The acts of the Jihadists and those of their pursuers are never publicized or made public. The reader is given both sides of the story, some chapters are devoted to the tale of the Jihadist and some to the story of those tracking them down. Fans of Robin Cook will like this medical mystery novel.


Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite, Completed 08/17/2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Full Text: A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus by Gary F. Jones is a brilliantly paced and engaging thriller, a terrorist novel featuring interesting characters. A deadly virus has been stolen from the lab at the University of Minnesota. The CIA meets with numerous challenges trying to locate it, one of which is the virologist who is supposed to keep it safe, a man whose mouth drips like water. Now the prime suspect, a pretend jihadist, Ahmed, is far off in Yemen and the terrorists think that the virus would be the best weapon for mass murder. How they plan to use it and their motives will shock the world and the US in particular. Teamed with the virologist, a skilled CIA agent has to navigate through all forms of danger to stop the terrorists. Can they get there on time?

I loved this story, which reminded me a lot of great thriller writers like Robert Ludlum and James Peterson. I loved the way the author combines science with common sense to create a hook that will sustain the reader’s interest till the end of the story. Readers will fall in love with Jason, funny in a very tragic way, and the ignorant Chinese student who provokes a discovery that puts the lives of many people at stake. Yes, the characters are very engaging and the plot is equally gripping. The author has so many surprises to whisk readers around, and at times they could come off with whiplash. The language is perfect and enjoyable. Overall, A Jerk, a Jihad, and a Virus by Gary F. Jones is a highly entertaining read


Gayle Surrette (Reviewer) Net Galley, May 4, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Link Text: Review: A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus


Additional Questions:

Would you purchase this book for yourself or a friend? Yes
Are you reviewing this title for a publication? Yes

Notes: Review is in the May 2016 issue of Gumshoe Review and is exclusive to them until 01 June 2016.


Stephen Goldberg (Reviewer) Net Galley, May 8, 2016

Rating: The member did not provide a star rating.

Full Text: Excellent science fiction-espionage story I loved this book. It has everything I want: science (microbiology), good action, great characters, unassuming heroes, and a story that is well paced and hard to put down. Since Jones has background in microbiology and veterinary medicine, the story could have easily lapsed into techno-babble but it didn’t. Conversely, his expertise allows the book to delve into science in a very clear way. I was also impressed with Jones’s ability to describe settings. Although the subject matter is very serious – potential biological warfare – Jones manages to keep the story light through his characters and dialogue. I recommend this book for anyone interested in science fiction and/or microbiology.

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Notes: I hope that Jones is working on a sequel.


Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite, Completed on: 08/17/2016

Review Rating: 5 stars

A Jerk, A Jihad and a Virus by Gary Jones has a bit of everything interesting in a good novel. At times it’ll read like a thriller, but then it suddenly feels like sci-fi. It’s a hilarious tale of an experiment gone awfully wrong. At the University of Minnesota, an experiment with a deadly virus, one that can cause a pandemic, goes wrong. A dubious graduate student, Ahmed, learns of the dangers of the virus, steals it, and heads off toward a black market with the jihadists. What the jihadists could do with a virus of this nature is unimaginable and someone has to locate and retrieve the virus before it gets into their hands. Will Jason be able to help the FBI to retrieve the virus and avoid a very noxious outcome? It is fun to watch Jason and the FBI agent race across countries, to outwit Ahmed and the jihadists in this live-or-die game.

Gary Jones is a brilliant author, a great story teller, and an entertainer. First off, the book’s title already suggests that it would be a fun read, but A Jerk, A Jihad and a Virus isn’t just fun, it’s hilarious. The characters are very interesting, compelling, and well-conceived to play a powerful role in a gripping plot. Jones’ writing is polished and his work creates a striking balance between intelligent dialogue, vivid descriptions, and an engaging narrative. The story is well-paced and with a lot of terrific descriptions and humorous events to interest the reader. This a book I’d recommend readily for its entertainment value and the quality of writing.