Jason and Ann Hartman, veterinarians, lovers, and graduate students, conduct a study of Bovine Corona Virus (BCV) in calves, a common virus that causes diarrhea in cattle. A recently arrived Chinese student accidentally exposes the calves to the SARS virus, a close relative of BCV. The calves and the Chinese student develop a severe and puzzling pneumonia. The Center for Disease Control isolates a hybrid BCV-SARS virus from the Chinese student and the calves. The FBI is notified of the new and dangerous virus.
Ahmed, more con man than graduate student, discovers samples of Jason’s that contain the virus. He steals them and flees to Yemen where he pretends to be a devout Muslim to get funding from a religious insurgent group. They believe the virus will be valuable as a biological weapon and as bait to lure the CIA into military action that will kill innocent civilians and increase hatred of the US. Jason and an unconventional CIA agent redefine “thinking outside the box” as they con Ahmed, dodge bullets, and thwart the insurgents.
This was previously published under the title "A Jerk, a Jihad, and a Virus"
My life often seems like a testament to wishful thinking and bad judgement, although my wife of 40 years says she knows of nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism.
I was raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, where I spent most of my time doing stupid things and catching hell from my Dad. I spent more years in college than I care to think about to become a veterinarian. After that, I spent my time doing things a smart man wouldn’t and getting chewed out by my clients, WI dairy farmers. I made a foolish mistake while camping with the family and spent a summer being treated in the burn unit of our local hospital.
I'd always wanted to go into research, and it looked like I'd better do it quickly before I crippled or killed myself. I enrolled in grad school at the U. of Minnesota and earned a PhD in microbiology. In December of 2012 I retired after 19 years in R&D working on animal vaccines.
When I told my wife I wanted to write a novel, I asked her if I should include some sexy scenes to keep the reader's attention. She thought a moment, and told me it would be better if I wrote about topics I knew something about. Hence, "Doc's Codicil," a memoir of sorts, although some have said it's a manual on how to make foolish mistakes. Given that, I hasten to add that the book is a work of fiction. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.