Anthrax Island

Anthrax Island cover image

Tyler is a Halifax lad which, put simply, means he’s hard as nails when he needs to be. And he needs to be most of the time.

Author: DL Marshall

Finished on: 18 April 2021

Where did I get this book: A kindle read

“If James Bond came from Yorkshire…” Say no more. Just take my money.

This is the irresistible premise of the brand new debut novel, Anthrax Island from DL Marshall, starring a brand new hero, John Tyler. Tyler is a Halifax lad which, put simply, means he’s hard as nails when he needs to be. And he needs to be most of the time in this relentless, fast-paced thriller.

Tyler is sent to an anthrax-infested island off the coast of Scotland where an international team of scientists, many of whom have ambiguous allegiances to various countries and organisations, are battling the disease, the toxic soil, and each other. As they work to decontaminate the land and learn the secrets of the particularly virulent strain of bacteria that’s developed there, tensions are running high.

But Anthrax Island is not only an espionage thriller, it’s also a delicious closed circle whodunit. When one of the scientists is found dead, gruesomely murdered in their sealed base on this remote island during a storm (told you it was delicious) Tyler also needs to find a killer.

Terrifyingly, much of the content of Anthrax Island is accurate. The UK government really did test biological weapons on British soil during the Second World War, leaving Gruinard Island lethally contaminated with anthrax for decades. This context lends the story a sinister edge of believability. The most horrible elements of this book did happen, so who’s to say what’s off limits when people and governments are pitted against each other? Not a lot, it seems.

Tyler rolls up his sleeves (not literally, or he’d be covered in blisters and vomiting violently within five minutes) and cracks on with the job in hand. He receives a spectacular array of injuries along the way, nearly drowns, is impaled on barbed wire, trapped in a burning building, and beaten up about ten times. For a man not brought up on nights out in The Fax, he’d be struggling to put one foot in front of the other by the end of the book, but for those of us who grew up going to the Coliseum or Zoo Bar on a Saturday night, it’s all pretty standard.

We’re at Tyler’s side frantically turning the pages for every second of this breathless roller coaster journey. Will he neutralise the risk to global security posed by this island of weaponised anthrax? Will he find the killer? And most importantly of all, will he do it in time to get home and watch the rugby league with a pint of bitter and a toffee? (Sorry, I grew up there too, so I’m allowed.) You’ll just have to read it and find out.

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