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Plague Maker

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
July Fourth: New York City

Hundreds of thousands line the banks of the East and Hudson Rivers awaiting the nation's largest fireworks display. Soon the sky will explode in cascading showers of silver and gold. Everywhere, faces will turn skyward in wide-eyed wonder.

Then the sky will grow dark again--but it will not be empty. The air will be filled with clouds of smoke and s
ebook, 480 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Jan 20, 2017 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting thriller about bioterrorism. The plot was compelling and the characters were great. The author writes Christian fiction, and elements of it can be seen in the story - but not in an obnoxious way. A fast-paced page turner.
Aug 21, 2009 Lorrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Plague Maker to be very intriguing, and I actually had a hard time putting it down. However, the topic was a little too close to home to be truly enjoyable. The idea of Muslims creating biological warfare to attack the U.S. on the 4th of July is so utterly believable--or something like it--that it was rather a downer (no pun). I read to escape reality and enter someone else's world. I would rather not enter that world. As always Tim Downs can keep you captivated with suspense, and he alw ...more
Dec 10, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of realistic sci-fi, terrorist fiction
Recommended to Kristin by: Ollie's Bargain Outlet
All told, an interesting book that made me ponder 'what if?'. It felt as if there should have been a prequel to this book to better introduce the principal protagonists, because by the end, I knew a lot about Mr. Li and Sato, but not so much about Nathan and Macy. Apparently the book is classified as Christian fiction, but I didn't pick up strongly on it until about 3/4 of the way through. The story was very well-developed, though it didn't continue in the path I was expecting based on the initi ...more
Michelle Griep
Sep 21, 2011 Michelle Griep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bug Man is still my favorite but FBI agent Donovan sure takes a close second. He's snappy, tough, and with a heart of platinum. Though this wasn't a Bug Man book (though he does make a guest star appearance), I loved the dialogue and intense plot just as much.

A bonus in this one is a secondary character named Li. He's hilarious in a back-handed kind of way. But besides his humor, he makes some really good points that make you go, "huh."

If you're a Bug Man fan, you'll still enjoy Plague Maker
Dec 14, 2016 Fran rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last ten pages were the best and kept me from giving it only a 2-star rating.
C.J. Darlington
FBI counterterrorism agent Nathan Donovan has seen it all. Assassinations, bomb removals, hostage situations. Yet his Marine days and sixteen weeks at Quantico did nothing to prepare him for watching his son die. Plagued with guilt he can't admit, Nathan pours himself into his work. Then the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) is called to a not-so-typical murder at an art gallery, and Nathan's thrust into a deadly cat-and-mouse game involving fleas, fireworks, bubonic plague, and Sato Matsushita, ...more
Cortez III
Tim Downs’ novel, Plague Maker, says it's ‘A Thriller’, but I’d probably liken it to a suspense story that turns thriller where appropriate. Readers expecting Downs’ original protagonist, forensic entomologist Dr. Nick Polchak, aka, ‘The Bug Man’, to lead the heroics won’t find him doing so. He has a guest role here. New York FBI counterterrorism agent Nathan Donovan carries that mantle. However, he’s not alone. A rather odd duck in the guise of an eighty-year-old Chinese man with a British acce ...more
plot summary: what happens, when & where, central characters, major conflicts[return]fbi special agent nathan donovan doesn't know what to think when an li, an older chinese gentleman, contacts him regarding a case he is working. li is intrigued by the fact that there we thousands of dead fleas found at the scene of the crime. he thinks that an old nemesis of his is planning to use fleas to infest new york city with the bubonic plague. a wild story, yet as the book unfolds we see that it is ...more
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, suspense
Plot Summary: What happens, When & Where, Central Characters, Major Conflicts[return]FBI Special Agent Nathan Donovan doesn't know what to think when an Li, an older Chinese gentleman, contacts him regarding a case he is working. Li is intrigued by the fact that there we thousands of dead fleas found at the scene of the crime. He thinks that an old nemesis of his is planning to use fleas to infest New York City with the bubonic plague. A wild story, yet as the book unfolds we see that it is ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, z-2010, science
I just happened to pull this book off the shelf at the library because it looked interesting. Turns out I picked up a winner. This is a solid thriller that I liked for several reasons.

First, I find bioterrorism extremely interesting. Lest this be misinterpreted, I think learning about pathogens, how they can be weaponized, and how we can diagnose, treat, and defend against them is super cool. I learned a lot about this kind of stuff during my undergrad (I even took a class about select pathogens
Catherine Leggitt
WHEW! What a climactic ending! I am nearly breathless. Stunning work. This is my favorite Tim Downs book yet, and I've read 3 others in the Bug Man series. Here Downs spins a complex plot I never have guessed would end where it did. Packed with international intrigue, mystery, and even a skosh of romance, it's a technical thriller. Full of science and interesting facts about terrorism and biological warfare. Plague Maker is thought provoking and beautifully written. Most lasting of all, is the a ...more
May 10, 2008 Preston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the way this book was written. A lot of the story was made in suspense, not letting the reader know what had happened to the characters to shape them into what they were in the story. Li, the old Chinese guy, was kind of funny in a cynical but wise way. The main character was also funny, but it seemed that he did it mostly by accident.
The main conflict in this book is a real possibility that i don't think many people have considered could even happen. But i think that when enough
Sharon Michael
Nov 23, 2012 Sharon Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good mystery/hunt the terrorists with interesting characters that were well developed. Fairly standard terrorist plot with an interesting connection back to WWII and more focus on personalities and the tracking process than fast action sequences but I found it fascinating.

One criticism for me was that the author describes a scene in which a rural resident who is being interviewed kills a chicken and cooks it for dinner for the main characters. As someone who has done this a number of times,
If you want a suspenseful book that will keep you engrossed and on the edge of your seat, and if you ant a suspenseful book that is supr squeaky clean--devoid of explicit sexualdescriptions an profanity--then you need to rea thi book. The author takes a hard look at bioterrorism and weaves together some excellent storylines that wll keep you reading. In thisbook, a hardened cynical FBI agent and his ex-wife mus stop a rogue vessel from entering U.s. waters. They get help from a delightful Chines ...more
I stopped and started this book a couple of times. I initially put it down not because it was poorly written, but because I've found certain varieties of "thrillers" are a little too hard on my psyche: I have bad dreams about the all-too-plausible terror attacks or find myself cranky and moody after reading for an hour or two. My mother encouraged me to finish it anyway, and so after a break of a couple weeks, I did so. I think it was worth it: the character of Li was fascinating, and I ended up ...more
May 03, 2010 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Tim Downs really drew me in and I cared about the characters; I felt like I knew them. This isn't really a thriller for people who want to read action, it's more of a thinking-man's thriller. Downs spends 75% of the book setting up the big reveal but it's all extremely interesting.

As someone who's spent her life around cops and first responders, Tim Downs absolutely nailed the rhetoric between cops and the sarcasm they sometimes use in work situations. It made the story
A scientist from WWII tries one final time to unleash bubonic plague on the United States in retribution for his sister's death at Hiroshima.

The historical details are all strongly based on fact, according to the end notes. I learned a lot about bubonic plague, and know I would never want to come across it.

The novel lost two stars because as the plot tension increased towards the end, I had a hard time visualizing the layout of the ships and their movement in the channel going to NYC. I think th
Jul 05, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On one level it's a murder mystery but on several others it transcends the obvious by going back sixty years to another place in time and history. It's about warfare on a much subtler plane, terrorism and choices made by characters in the past which affect the future. The setting is ironic in that I just finished it before one of our major national holidays so the premise of the delivery of germ warfare struck me as all too close to reality. Mr Downs style is every bit as intense as a Tom Clancy ...more
Eli King
Sep 20, 2012 Eli King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read. The level of research was simply stunning, and the characters were very real and deep--not just puppets thrown in for the use of the thriller. The action was great, as was the suspense. The humor was some of the best I've ever read, too.

Really, the only negative comments I have about this book regard the violence. While the story was clean of any profanity, the action/fighting/war violence was extreme and, in my opinion, could have been pared down without h
Gloria Liposchak
FBI agent Nathan Donovan is forced to enlist the help of ex-wife Macy Monroe, expert in the psychology of terrorism, in the apprehension of a terriorist who has spent 60 years planning biological attack via the 4th of July fireworks in NYC.
It's the story of two ancient asian guys, one bent on destroying the US, the other on forgiving...It's the romance between Donovan and Macy.

It is fast moving. Donovan seems rather dense at times.
And the ending is something you can see coming from a mile away
This book started out slow, but it got better. It has a lot of history in it about things I had never heard of before, which makes me wonder how true to life they really are, might have to do some research.

The book is about invading the US with fleas in order to cause a pandemic of a form of the Plague. This Chinese dude is upset from way back in WWII when we dropped the bomb on his country and killed his sister. He plots to bring a plague into the country via fireworks and raining down fleas.

Feb 26, 2016 Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plague Maker was a VERY interesting book, to say the least; it had such a complex and interesting plot that I got hooked to it almost immediately. Tim Downs does a great job at giving you a familiar plot, but adding a great twist to it. He also gives you great depth to the characters, unlike other books, and gives each of them an interesting story and personality. However, I'm not a HUGE fan of Tim Downs's writing style. His writing style almost feels playful and it feels sarcastic. But in the ...more
Betty Jean
Feb 20, 2016 Betty Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was both an entertaining and educational read. Excellent storytelling! The chapter on Hiroshima was pure poetry. The author's wit and intelligence shine through. Love the details - they really help to authenticate the story.

Just a few wonderments:
Physical descriptions lacking for Nathan and Macy, two of our big players. Why?
Container ship not notified to steer clear of area. Why?
Where did the crew of The Divine Wind go?

Occasionally I read a book and say to myself, "I'd really like to meet t
Betsy Ashton
Mar 12, 2012 Betsy Ashton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A page-turning thriller that pits one old Chinese man, a FBI agent and a professor of terrorism against one old Japanese man. In a vendetta from World War II, a bioterrorist from Japan develops a new strain of plague that is immune to all known treatment. A Chinese victim from World War II is the only person who knows this terrorist is still alive and working. When he meets with the FBI agent and tells his story, he overcomes the agent's skepticism and together they track down the aged bioterror ...more
Feb 03, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, felt like I had a lot in common with Donovan, and liked Li, could have used more of Khalid, and even more of Macy. But it as well written, and a great action story. Bonus, it was told clean, i.e.- I could let my son (8) probably read it soon... other than ppl dying, it is not a bad book... granted the plague itself is a little over his head right now, but it is clean enough for him is my point. (ok, i goofed that one... maybe when he is more lik 13ish)

Good Book.. liked it a bu
Sep 26, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy books about Nick the Bug Man. He only appears in this book briefly at the beginning, but the three main characters - FBI agent Nathan Donovan, his ex-wife Macy Monroe, and an elderly Chinese man called Li are very interesting. When Li calls Nathan from London after reading about a murder in New York, the three end up working together on a nerve-wracking case involving bioweapons. Someone is trying to destroy the U.S. by engineering a pandemic of bubonic plague. I learned a lot abo ...more
Dec 06, 2008 BreAnne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I checked out this book initially b/c the title "Plague Maker" and the picture of the fireworks over New York City made and interesting combo. I thought this book was great. It is about bio-terrorism using a strand of the bubonic plague bacteria and the plans to infect the USA. Even though it was a fictional book the author did a great deal of research and used many parts that were based on actual events. There was no foul language either which is always a plus when it comes to action/thriller t ...more
Jan 29, 2010 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is a rollercoaster ride in a book! The story centers around a tough FBI agent, a mysterious elderly Chinese man, and an "evil scientist". As the story unfolds, it includes lots of factual details, regarding biological weapons and historical events. Although the action might appeal more to men, there is also an element of romance in it. I especially enjoyed the repartee between Donovan, the FBI agent, and the elderly Chinese man - the dry humor & light sarcasm are my favorite type o ...more
Jun 14, 2009 Sylvia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This Tim Downs novel is weaker than the other Bugman novels I've read so far. It is almost as if Downs invented an horrific attack mechanism, and then with an effort had to dash off the bad guys and their back story to support his true invention, the plague bomb. I found the motivations somewhat contrived and the characters stretched. That said, Downs writes well, and his unique plots driven by his knowledge of entomology, are a good read.
Aug 24, 2015 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing read that kept me turning pages. The premise of bioterrorism is very real and believable, even if the story stretches the bounds of credibility a bit (during the grand finale). I enjoyed hearing the back stories of the oriental characters to learn what motivated them. Hinting at what was eating at Donovan and his wife worked well too and fit into their actions in the end. Definitely a good read.
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Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate (Calvin & Hobbes, Doonesbury, The Far Side) from 1980 to 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred daily newspapers worldwide. Tim has written seven mystery/suspense novels: Shoofly Pie, Chop Shop, PlagueMak ...more
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