A Jerk, a Jihad, and a Virus

Veterinary virologist Jason Mitchell can't keep his mouth shut, lie convincingly, or follow orders. He's an unlikely candidate to help the CIA locate and destroy a deadly hybrid virus stolen from his lab at the University of Minnesota. From Washington to Djibouti and from Minneapolis to Yemen, Marines cringe, senators turn livid, and federal agents shudder as Jason struggles to prevent the virus from becoming a biological weapon in the hands of jihadists.


Christine Desemt

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.”

Ilana WD

(Reviewer) Net Gallery, March 8, 2016

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

Jean Lowery

(Librarian) Net Gallery, March 31, 2016

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.”

Gayle Surrette

(Reviewer for Gumshoe Review) Net Gallery, May 4, 2016

“The plot is twisty but believable, especially if you have experience in academia. The characters are realistic enough to walk off the page . . . I had low expectations starting this book but after just a few chapters I was hooked. Entertaining to read, and I now know more about BCV and veterinary procedures and issues than I ever expected. How can you beat a book that entertains and educates . . . “

Stephen Goldberg

(Reviewer) Net Gallery, May 8, 2016

“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 [a] 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.  . . . I hope that Jones is working on a sequel.”

Rusty Clark

(Reviewer) Net Gallery, May 6, 2016

He read the cell phone instructions from cover to cover--possibly the first male ever to do so." Can a terrorist plot to infect schools, airports and shopping malls be both scientifically accurate and laugh out loud funny? In a word, damn right. This clever book puts the fate of the world in the hands of a couple of PhDs. Jason is the one in the t-shirt and cut-offs; the villain wears Prada. A grad student, recently arrived from Hong Kong, causes a SARS mutation to break out of the animal lab. "Diseases carried by wild animals, such as Ebola, Marburg virus, SARS, and West Nile virus, are often more virulent when they infect people than they were in the original host. Any of those diseases can become potential pandemics." When ten vials of the infectious material go missing the story follows the abrasively smug and startlingly inept Ahmed through a travelogue of Arab countries, painting vivid word pictures. "Hard boiled eggs were purchased from urchins at the side of the road," while the scents of "garlic, fenugreek, cardamom, ginger, roast chicken and lamb" fill the steamy air. The descriptions of "blowing refuse, mud, and stinking hovels" in the world's richest oil countries are spot-on. Hot Zone meets The Jerk in this smile-worthy new book from Gary F. Jones. I'm giving it five stars for hitting two of my sweet-spots: epidemics and literary lunacy. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.”

E Vikander

(Reviewer) Net Gallery, April 4, 2016

“. . .  clever with a peppering of waggish bon mots . . . If you've ever been a graduate student you will especially appreciate this comedy of errors.

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