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Kris Jensen #1

Yellow Death

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Because the war on drugs is not going well, DEA conspirators initiate a secret project mixing a lethal Venezuelan hepatitis virus into heroin, rationalizing that a few deaths from a new type of hepatitis will deter drug abuse in many.

When Dr. Kris Jensen, a medical detective with the CDC's hepatitis division, arrives in Mississippi to investigate rapidly fatal hepatitis in two drug users, she doesn't expect to become a victim.

Two days after an accidental needlestick, she realizes that she is now infected with this unknown lethal virus and has only five days left to find answers to its origin. Jensen's investigation takes her into the depths of a web of drug use and revenge murders, tracked by DEA assassins who are determined to keep her from discovering the truth.

330 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2015

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About the author

Alex Lettau

6 books15 followers
Alex Lettau is the pen name of Ludwig Alexander Lettau M.D., an infectious disease specialist who currently lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina.

In practice for more than 30 years, he holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Early in his career, Dr. Lettau was a medical missionary in Malawi (one year), Nicaragua (2 months), and Papua New Guinea (3 months). For two years he was a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control in the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) assigned to the Viral Hepatitis Branch of the Division of Viral Diseases.

Dr. Lettau has published (as first author) 20 scientific articles in medical journals and also published 15 short medical humor pieces on such subjects as “O.J. Fever Syndrome,” “Hepatitis Z,” and “J.C. is History” (the funeral of Joe Camel) in Annals of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice, and Stitches, a Canadian medical humor journal.

The medical thriller YELLOW DEATH is his first novel.

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5 stars
64 (50%)
4 stars
37 (29%)
3 stars
20 (15%)
2 stars
4 (3%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 27 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
574 reviews13 followers
February 8, 2018
Lots of medical jargon and plenty of action for hardcore medical thriller fans. Lettau takes you on a fast-paced journey from Mississippi to New Orleans to Venezuela, as a CDC investigator searches for the source--and treatment--of a rapidly fatal form of hepatitis. You'll want to be extra kind to your liver after this wild ride.
67 reviews
November 3, 2015
Medical mystery

Great story, kept me interested right from the start, thought that there might be a part 2. If not, there should definitely be
Profile Image for Richard Schwindt.
Author 19 books40 followers
September 16, 2017
Alex Lettau is an veteran infectious disease specialist who has written a medical thriller. So far, so good.
That being said, sometimes professionals who write thrillers about their field go off the rails; their stories are indulgent, poorly written, or cater to their various bias'.
Lettau, though, has crafted an excellent thriller that feels professional; in its prose, and communication of the story. Well written; it captures the reader quickly.
Doctor Kris Jensen is a young specialist called in by CDC to investigate a particularly horrific strain of hepatitis in the southern US. Things go bad right away when she is bumped into a needle stick by a clumsy colleague. Shortly after, she encounters a group of assassins who seem to be targeting her. Then it gets bad.
This is a terrific book; Lettau has nailed the genre and produced the first of what one hopes is a long lived series. Kris Jensen is a charming and ethical protagonist. I enjoyed this so much that five stars is a no brainer, but one quibble; in the next Jensen novel it would be good to beef up a few of the secondary characters.
Best read by candlelight, with port and chicken soup, when you are sick with the flu.
Profile Image for John Rogers.
Author 2 books6 followers
January 6, 2020
A smashing good story. It is written by a doctor, and the plot detail shows it. The main people involved are medical professionals … doctors, epidemiologists, public health officials … and there are many of them. The number of characters and the technical detail pose a challenge for the writer. Most of the characters would naturally speak in medical dialect most of the time, leaving most readers scratching their heads. The detailed medical terminology gives an air of authenticity to the story, a good thing. But Lettau then needs to stop and convert the characters argot into common English. That slows plot development, and the idea of imminent catastrophe (five days!) needs the plot to move quickly. On balance, the story could have done with less technical detail, more character development. But it's a great premise.
171 reviews8 followers
January 22, 2018
Honestly, this is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Extremely interesting story with great characters. Whatever your favorite genre of reading, you can be certain there's something within that will "tickle your fancy." Not to mention there is an important lesson to be learned on the last page. This book will not disappoint. :)
Profile Image for Dotty Wright.
23 reviews
October 24, 2018
Kris Jensen is a very believable and likable character who also has a great sense of humor and an amazing sense of compassion and tenacity of purpose. The action keeps you wanting to read just one more page. I can't wait for Dr. Lettau to finish another episode!
July 19, 2019
Page turner. Suspenseful.

I couldn't put it down! It kept my interest late into the night! Very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat!! I would recommend to any virus hungry reader.
1,136 reviews
November 5, 2019

A nice read. A good story but I feel it was scripted in some areas. The medical details, explanations in some parts was overwhelming.. Enjoyed the levity in those tight and morbid situations.
Profile Image for Jill.
351 reviews
March 21, 2017
I was very impressed with Kris Jensen's novel, Yellow Death. It was full of mystery and intrigue and contained plenty of plot twists to make it extremely interesting. I had a difficult time putting this one down! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers or suspense novels. This one has it all!
1 review
May 25, 2017
Great read!

Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book! Page turner that hooks you instantly and keeps you wrapped up in the plot until the last page!
Profile Image for gj indieBRAG.
1,475 reviews59 followers
November 6, 2017
We are proud to announce that YELLOW DEATH (Kris Jensen #1) by Alex Lettau is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
January 18, 2019
Exciting read

Exciting and enjoyable read. It kept you on the edge of your seat. I did not want to put it down.
Profile Image for Susan Mock.
365 reviews6 followers
July 5, 2021
The story was really good and hard to put down. The dialogue and character development, not so much.
Profile Image for Tony Parsons.
87 reviews8 followers
April 11, 2016
3/22/2006, Corham, Mississippi. Dr. Kristen “Kris” Jensen (30, U of Wisconsin, epidemiologist, CDC Hepatitis Division) was examining the bloated body of Junior Murphee (chronic hepatitis C infection) at the Stevens’ health department.
Junior & his G/F LaDonna Fry (20) lived in the Dixie trailer park.
Kris had cut her finger while doing the examination.
Doc Calhoun did the autopsy on Billy Herman (21, chronic hepatitis C infection) who lived in Millerville Mississippi (town).
Kris & Dr. Dan Stevens (County Public Health Director) went to see LaDonna & Frankie Howell (drug addict).

Kris’ next stop was to meet with Dr. Eduardo “Ed” Beaufain (Assistant Director, OPHD).
Homer Renk (chronic hepatitis C infection) was in an isolation room. He later died.
Dr. Simon Wu (Chief of Pathology) did the autopsy on Homer.
Then on to King Dewey’s Castle of Tattoos (New Orleans, LA.) to meet with obese Dewey Alonzo Duarte (50+, aka King Dewey, former US Army, Vietnam).
Betty Jo Miller (aka B.J., nurse) was also stuck by a needle used on Homer.
Kris (lead field investigator, hepatitis outbreak) & Ed’s next stop Dr. George Schmidt office.
There had been the New Bern outbreak, & the Delta virus outbreak (hepatitis B) in Massachusetts.
What later happened to the Hepatitis laboratory wing (Building 2,) in Dekalb County?
Kris & Ed are now in Venezuela to meet with Coronado “Cory” Flint (f, former DEA).
Kris & Cory are now in the Santa Maria Mission hospital.

Would Kris & Cory survive?
What about Ed?
& what about LaDonna Fry & B.J. Miller?
Will an antidote for the outbreak be made?

Warning: This book contains extremely graphic adult content, violence, or expletive language &/or uncensored sexually explicit material which is only suitable for mature readers. It may be offensive to some readers.

I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one.

A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written clandestine government bureaucratic book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment.
There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a huge set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great clandestine government bureaucratic movie, or a mini TV series. To be continued? A very easy rating of 5 stars.

Thank you for the free Goodreads; Making Connections; instaFreebie: Author; PDF book
Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)
1 review
August 6, 2015
While my experience in epidemiology is limited, I felt as though I was a researcher alongside the characters of Yellow Death by Alex Lettau. My mind swiftly generated thoughts for explanation as the plot unfolded in this infectious disease suspense novel.
The story begins as the protagonist, Dr. Kris Jensen, receives an unfortunate needle stick while investigating several suspicious deaths related to an unidentified fulminant hepatitis. As Dr. Jensen realizes she is in fact infected with this disease that is rapidly killing these patients, she embarks on a mission not just to identify the ailment, but to save herself. She makes helpful friends along the way, but also faces disastrous opposition from unsuspected enemies. Either friend or foe, character development is impeccable as each new face walks into the story, and you find yourself quickly pledging alliance to the cause.
As a registered nurse specializing in palliative care, I took particular interest in Lettau’s descriptions and accounts of Dr. Jensen’s thoughts as she contemplated her own mortality. She maintained a sense of humor, and a sense of who she was. Her drive to feel fulfilled and accomplished rings loudly to me, which is such a realistic value to those who face serious illness or imminent death. People want their life to feel complete, and I believe that Dr. Jensen was striving for just that.
There are, however, many unanticipated obstacles that present to create barriers in Dr. Jensen’s journey, and the thrill of suspense over what would happen next kept me wanting to read “just one more chapter” until the very end! I found myself gasping at some scenes, and laughing at the next; it was well-rounded and intriguing to say the very least. As cliché as it may sound, this is absolutely a must-read!
Profile Image for Amber.
1,696 reviews37 followers
June 3, 2016
yay giveaways!
So this was a hard one to rate for me. I think it boiled down to issues of execution. The plot itself was my type of thing, and sometimes the writing was as good as the tale. But then there were the other times. I'd flip from thinking "total four star read!" to "ugh, I guess I can be generous and give it two." So I decided three was a fair representation of my overall experience, and I probably would recommend it.

I guess sharing the issues would help. It's mostly intrigue/thriller, which I like. Then the author would squeeze in these inspiration moments that just didn't fit with the pacing and tone. Well, not all of them. There were a couple that worked...which just made the rest MORE annoying. Ummm... I think the author got too technical and then seemed to backpedal and over explain. There was a tease of conspiracy that ALMOST worked,so close so close, but then left me vaguely dissatisfied (more than once actually). But at least it wasn't complete thwarted potential?

Okay, I checked out the author and the overly technical slash info dump stuff makes more sense now. Also, this appears to be a first novel. I will stand by my rating, but now I'm interested in reading more. I want to see how he develops.
Profile Image for Eldon Farrell.
Author 14 books95 followers
July 7, 2016
I really enjoyed reading this medical thriller—for a first novel, Yellow Death is superb. Alex Lettau has created in Kris Jensen a well-developed character who is intelligent, driven, spunky, and yes, even a little funny. As a reader you have no problem rooting for her as she maneuvers her way through this story. Move aside Temperance Brennan, there’s a new leading lady of medical mystery on the way!

Without giving anything away (I hate spoilers in reviews) I’ll just say that the book moves along at a nice clip and is filled with detailed medical information delivered for the most part in an engaging manner. I did become lost in the terminology in a few spots but nothing severe enough to hamper my enjoyment of the plot.

Aside from the medical aspects of the book, the author interwove a high level conspiracy that I felt was carried off rather well. There were a couple of moments within the book that stretched believability for me, but as they were very well written I still found them enjoyable.
Overall I would’ve rated this 4.5 stars if the capability was there but since it isn’t, and it’s not quite a 5 in my opinion, I’ll settle at four stars. Well done Dr. Lettau…now hurry up with the next Kris Jensen adventure!
Profile Image for Amy Shojai.
Author 94 books282 followers
April 28, 2016
Scary-Realistic, A Solid Thriller

I enjoyed this medical thriller, and found the premise frightening and realistic. I loved the way the author interwove real life examples and included his professional expertise to give this story a gripping urgency. I would have liked (and expected) more emotional resonance in the characters, particularly from the main character. She seemed to simply accept the fact she would die--no tears, no gut-wrenching denial, no shock--only a "just the facts" self-diagnosis. Almost a "whoops, oh well..." Huh? That was the only wrong note in the story, but as the book progressed, the character did begin to reveal a more emotive vulnerability including a terrific resiliency to overcome the inevitiable. Still a solid story and I look forward to future thrillers from this talented author.
Profile Image for Selena.
456 reviews
December 6, 2016
I could definitely tell Yellow Death was written by a doctor. There were just enough clues to figure out what was going on. This was a thrilling ride from beginning to end.
Dr. Jensen was called to the fatal death of a drug user, and while taking a sample pricked her finger. She begins a search to find out how the virus came to Mississippi and how, hopefully, to stop it before she dies. Her search takes her to a remote village in Venezuela, to find the village where this particular strain of hepatitis began.
Yellow Death is full of humor, intrigue, death, gun fights, a crash or two and non-stop excitement. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure.
I was given a copy of Yellow Death by Alex Lettau in exchange for an honest review.
11 reviews
October 21, 2015
potential epidemic with killer virus, love and adventure combine with treachery and travel to conquer evil. In this case, a dysfunctional federal agency focused on killing anyone who discovers their secret to rid the world of drug users. Fun interesting and adventurous read where the hero is a woman

A potential epidemic with a killer virus, love and adventure combine with treachery and travel to conquer evil. In this case, a dysfunctional federal agency focused on killing anyone who discovers their secret to rid the world of drug users. Fun interesting and adventurous read where the hero is a woman
60 reviews3 followers
March 17, 2016
This book is a very intense medical thriller. It was very well written and a fast page turning read. The plot is highly believable and gives one a lot to think about and consider. The premise that a government would intentionally infect people with a virus who are drug users is just plain scary. Also thinking about the possibility of being a part of the medical community and being chased and having people try to kill you is frightening as well as being accidentally infected yourself. I recommend this book to anyone who likes thrilling books that have real possibilities to be true. Wonderful read!!!
1 review
January 23, 2016
Great book!! I found myself saying ...."just one more chapter, then I'll stop reading for the evening". Really held my interest. Being in the healthcare profession, I could relate to some of the characters and scenes.....quite realistic! Suspenseful. I loved the humor mixed in. Looking forward to reading the next novel by Alex Lettau!!
Profile Image for Lynn Nance.
38 reviews2 followers
April 18, 2016
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. This book is great! I read it in two days. I am a big fan of Robin Cook, but Alex Lettau gives him a run for his money. I thought Yellow Death was better than past several books I read of Robin Cook's. Highly recommended!
1 review
February 17, 2016
Great book! I loved reading Yellow Death. This book is great for anyone in the medical field. I'm a nurse so I was able to relate to all the characters in the book. I read this book fast, after Chaper 6, it's hard to put down! I can't wait for book # 2. Start writing Alex Lettau!
9,653 reviews103 followers
September 6, 2016
Superb writing. Keeps you on edge, hoping that Dr Jensen will be ok and they can find a cure in time. The idea of stopping drug users with a virus is wild and scary. Received this book from ebook discovery in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Mary.
8 reviews3 followers
February 11, 2019
I write the "Arts & Culture" column each week for the "Summerville Journal Scene" in SC and profiled this local writer. Alex Lettau is one heck of a medical thriller writer! I almost could not put the book down. His character and story development talent are top notch. Read this--you'll love it!
Displaying 1 - 27 of 28 reviews

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