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The Cobra Event : A Novel

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  11,647 Ratings  ·  504 Reviews
Featuring details so shocking that they will be kept confidential until the book's publication, Cobra's Eye, written by the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, is an explosive and terrifying story inspired by real events and situations--and involving a very real agent of destruction.
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 0 pages
Published December 15th 1998 by Random House Audio (first published 1997)
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Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This book was amazing! Richard Preston, the author of "The Hot Zone," (the true story of the Ebola outbreak of a monkey research facility in Virginia) knows his stuff! This man is brilliant! Honestly, I can't say it enough. He knows diseases, virology, epidemiology, criminology and suspense. He KNOWS his stuff. Seriously if you haven't read any of his books, shame on you, get to it! NOW!
Eli Easton
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always had a unexplained love of stories about epidemics and threats of apocalyptic level disease outbreaks. I like disaster movies in general, but in particular ones featuring disease, whether natural or a bio weapon. There aren't too many terrific novels in this genre, since many tend to be the same. It's exciting up until the point where the virus outbreak occurs, and then it sort of sinks into typical survivalist post-apoc fare.

This one, however, is very likely the best NOVEL written
While I would have given this book a five star rating, some parts were jumping back and worth a little too much.

With that being said, this book is terrifying. The author did a lot of research on it, but he also fictionalized some parts (mainly names and instructions on how to build weapons - for obvious reasons). The core part is that, yes, these things can and do happen all the time. We don't hear about it always but these types of biological weapons are aimed at eliminating a vast number of a
George Fisher
Jan 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly disliked this book.

It started by introducing a little girl and savagely killing her with a horrible nervous system destroying virus. Unfortunately I was eating lunch when I started the book and lost my appetite (which has never actually happened to me).

I'm 200 pages into the book and the characters, setting, and descriptions are weak. It's like Preston followed a simple book writing formula, first introduce character, then describe character, describe setting, add something unique
Kaykay Obi
It begins with a common cold. You find yourself blowing your nose every moment. You sneeze occasionally. You take some cold syrup. The syrup doesn’t help. You even feel worse. You can feel yourself drifting apart. Someone’s talking to you, but you aren’t paying any attention. You feel weak and weary and disoriented. And then you suddenly drop to the floor, thrashing around violently. You feel strange blisters in your mouth. Next you begin to chew your lips and the insides of your mouth in relish ...more
Once again Richard Preston sets out to scare us about the (very real) threat of diseases and viruses that could wipe out a significant portion of the world population. Unlike The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story this book is fiction and about what if a virus was altered and used as a weapon, rather than about a natural virus.

The first half of this book is great. The slow buildup as the virus starts to be found, the uncertainty of the source or nature of it, the small snippets of real-life backg
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-adult
This book I discovered by chance--and I am glad I did. It was a real page turner. Published in 1997 it is the horrifying story of "black biology" and the possibilities of biological weapons. The CDC, New York City police and fire department, and the FBI form "Reachdeep" -- a criminal investigation team working together to solve biological weapons mystery before a deadly "brainpox" virus is released worldwide.
A great deal of the book is based on facts that we should all be aware of now. It is a t
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Hot Zone" scared me to death when I read it 20 years or so ago. I missed his fictionalized version of what a bio-terror event might look like in a major city. A little stilted at times (when Preston tried to inject more fiction-type elements into the book, he is really a better non-fiction writer) but overall really well-researched and terrifying. A little dated as it's almost 20 years old, but still a good read.
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Re-read. A thrilling story that seems almost plausible by today's standards. That is what makes this story truly horrifying!

Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. A good story but not very good writing. He lapses into encyclopedia-like explanations, often repeating the same fact thrice in one paragraph+, his metaphors are horrible, and the point of view is all over the place. Also though he brags in an introduction about how accurate it is, there really are problems in the science, at least as I understand it.

+ Page 57: " [he] fitted a chain mail glove over his left hand. ...the prosector wears a metal glove on one hand … Most accidental knife
Apr 10, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This author kind of reminds me of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown, in that it's written like a screen play. I read this book and still got a C in my bioterrorism course. LAME.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dont-be-stupid
Richard Preston needs to learn how to write a cohesive story. Plain and simple. Honestly got a page in and had to stop, it was so bad.
Anonymous Phenomenon
I have no words. Read the book. Read it, in all of its sciency amazingness. The first book to ever scare the actual living heck out of me, but in such a good, adrenaline-filled way that I don't even care. Read the book.
Scotty Buthker
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cobra Event... It was a great book, equally chilling and at the same time believeable. It's the reality that gets you, knowing this could happen in the USA at any time. Following up on what my last comment said, the investigators eventually do find the identity of the terrorist. A scientist, who is employed by a mysterious company of sweedish and iraqi decent. The attacks get more and more bold though, and time seems to be running out. In Washington DC, he infects 10 people with the Newly na ...more
Apr 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fiction. Written very much in the style of Preston's The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, except this is fiction and some of the things that worked well for Hot Zone didn't quite work here.

The Cobra Event tells the story of a genetically engineered biological weapon and the government task force put together to stop it. There's a lot of detail. Most of it blends right in, but there are times when information is just dumped into the narrative instead of gently stirred in, and at least one of t
Rezana K
The book I choose to read was The Cobra Event by Richard Preston. It contained 404 total pages, and was published by Random House Inc. I was interested in reading this book due to my interest in forensic and medical sciences. And I had heard about his books before and wanted to try one out for myself.
The main character in the novel is Dr. Alice Auster. She is the 29 year old pathologist trying to solve the mysterious cases sent her way. She is the person with is sent to help with the dead girl's
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Richard Preston is best known for his nonfiction book The Hot Zone, a horrifying account of the Ebola virus, and other research based books. I was interested in reading his fiction book The Cobra Event. It is a chilling story about what a bioterrorist attack could look like today. Preston also has included in the story some of the history of bioweapons and information regarding bioengineering. If you want to be scared to death by a fiction book that is solidly grounded in fact and almost reads l ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a book that took me two tries to read it, I ended up giving it five stars, which seemed paradoxical, but it was actually pretty awesome. The problem mostly was in the beginning, because it was a slow start and it took a bit to really build up the action after the "prologue" where the girl died in her high school. But man, once it got to the action, it really jumped in and I couldn't put it down. It was a perfect blend of fiction and real life science and it kept me wanting to read more every ...more
Ehhh... the idea behind this book was solid and interesting but poorly executed. Quite simply, the writing broke the book with its overuse of passive verbs, inconsistent verb tense and overall repetition of words. From the technical aspect, this book seemed like it originated from someone who had neither read a novel nor took a writing class. Despite its gore, the book talked down to its audience in an insulting fashion (perhaps Richard Preston secretly agrees with his villain?). The characters ...more
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awesome
This was the first book I ever bought to read for pleasure on my own. It's still on of my all-time favorites. This also started my obsession with medical thrillers. I really respect how Richard Preston stuck with what he knew really well. Since he had written only non-fiction before this, he did a great job sticking to procedures, descriptions, and movement rather than characters and emotions. The plot is very simple but believable. If you're a little bit crazy like me, you even agree with the a ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: used-paperback
My thrill and excitement for this novel started to dissipate a little more than halfway through. Possibly at my own fault, not sure.

There were moments in which I wasn't sure if the author desired to tell a great story or to anecdote a great textbook. The story would be moving along quite nicely and then we'd pause, take a step back away from the setting & characters, and discuss real-life biology or geography or science history.

Hard to get a good cadence with these odd interruptions. I fou
Katie Herring
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the majority of this book with my shirt over my mouth and nose, the scenes in this novel were disturbing and I couldn't help it. This had more gruesome descriptions than The Hot Zone, or I was just more disturbed because the autopsies were on humans, not monkeys.

Biological warfare is the weapon of the future, I think.

As T.S. Eliot wrote, the world will end not with a bang but a whimper. Disease causes a whimper, not a bang.

This novel follows Alice (does Preston always center on female p
Samantha Schumann
I loved this book. It is a great medical mystery. You will love it if you're into that kind of thing. The suspense is incredible. And the mystery. Oh. I never knew what was coming next. I loved all the twists and turns. And I must admit, I loved the gory parts too. I would not recommend this book if you are in any way squeemish. There are some intense passages in which a lot of gory images are presented. Richard Preston does an amazing job of presenting the story. The imagery is incredible. I co ...more
N. Jr.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had already read Preston's ground-breaking non-fiction The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus. But a fiction writer he ain't.

Cardboard characters, a stupidly evil villain, an incredulous plot, and worst of all, poor writing.
I expected much better after having read his non-fiction.
No match for Michael Crichton
If you haven't read it, I would give it a miss.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just recently finished reading this about a week and a half ago, right before Thanksgiving. I loved it! I know I say this about a lot of books on my list, but I usually only review books that are at least somewhat worth my while.
I enjoy science fiction, but I also enjoy books about disease. This is both of those things, but it is also an action-packed thriller, along with a mystery/suspense type story. I enjoyed the tone, the writing style, the historical references, and that chilling feeling
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely terrifying. The very real possibility of a bioweapons attack and the potentially massive lethality of an event like this is more frightening than any boogeyman that King or Koontz could conjure up. The book is well-researched, educational, and at times incredibly graphic in its descriptions of the horrific effects of bioweapons on the human body. With the spectre of another terrorist attack in the back of most (if not all) Americans' minds, Preston's pre-9/11 fictional ac ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a few years ago and still recall it well enough to review it - and that says a lot! Richard Preston hits it out of the park with this one - again! Nail-biting, fast paced, and terrifyingly real. I loved every minute of this, okay maybe not some of the super gory descriptions but they are an absolute necessary evil in the telling of such a tale. How possible this story all is is what is truly terrifying, especially being a NYC resident. I might also add that this is a decent read for ...more
Apr 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is another great book, fast-pacing read. In New York City, it started with a homeless guy who died within no more than 2 days, I believe, 5 days earlier from some kind of deadly disease, and then a young girl died as well later. They started with a cold then developed something worse and out of control. The woman at CDC saw two possible connections, and then later realized it could be a terror attack in New York City by using some kind of virus that can be easily unnoticable. They were tracki ...more
Tory Wagner
While there were parts of this book I really enjoyed, I found myself pulled away from the story when Preston went into educator mode. The actual storyline about a biological weapon that was being used in New York City was compelling and the main characters were easy to root for. Unfortunately, there were long passages that described in great detail, the military uses of biological weapons and the politics of their use. A little of this information was important, but is sometimes felt like I was ...more
Sep 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was terrible, I didn't even get to page 100. It kept summarizing what it had just stated.
For example: The C.D.C has a coveted award called the John Snow Award. It is presented each year to the E.I.S officer who is judged to have done the best case investigation. Walter Mellis was suggesting to Alice Austen that there was a possibility that the New York case could lead to a John Snow Award.
The characters were not very detailed either.
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Richard Preston is a journalist and nonfiction writer.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
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“but no one could control Mark Littleberry; the man was fundamentally uncontrollable.” 2 likes
“An amount of bot tox the size of the dot over this i would be enough to easily kill ten people. Bot tox is a nerve agent. It is one hundred thousand times more toxic than Sarin, the nerve gas that the Aum Shinrikyo sect released in the Tokyo subway.” 1 likes
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