Frightful Friday: We All Fall Down by Michael Harvey

July 29, 2011 Frightful Friday, Knopf, Mystery/Suspense, Review 2

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Feel free to grab the button & join in!

This week’s Frightful Friday featured book is: We All Fall Down by Michael Harvey



  • Hardcover:320 pages
  • Publisher:Knopf (July 12, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0307272516
  • Source: Publisher

Former Chicago cop, now private investigator, Michael Kelly returns with another case, this one deadlier than before.

A deadly virus is spread among the citizens of Chicago after a light bulb breaks in a subway tunnel.  The city’s big wigs don’t seem to be worried at all, insisting the virus contained within the light bulbs is inactive.

Bodies begin filling up hospitals, turning them into morgues.  The L train is used as a rolling hearse, transporting contaminated bodies off site for cremation. Chicago is transformed into a quarantine zone, referred to as Camp Chicago.  Fences went up, preventing anyone from entering the quarantine zone. Fires start in the quarantine areas, seemingly to destroy the infected bodies, but is it unknowingly spreading the virus and/or destroying evidence?

CDA labs, a team of highly skilled scientists contracted by the Department of Defense to provide tools to protect and prevent chemical and biological warfare, is brought in to determine the “identity” of the strain of virus spreading through the city. At the insistence of the mayor, Kelly is permitted to have access to CDA’s investigation.  He learns of “black biology” labs, s groups who use DNA technology to create new pathogens enhance existing ones.

 Is it coincidence that Kelly discovers boxes containing 10,000 body bags in the basement of a man known to support local drug dealers? At the same time, suspicious no bid contracts for medical supplies is unveiled.  Can it all be connected? Kelly’s efforts are thwarted when those agencies who should be aiding him are instead trying to hunt him down to arrest him.   Can Kelly uncover the identity of the individual responsible for releasing the deadly virus before he is detained, or worse, killed?

Can I just say We All Fall Down absolutely terrified me?  Perhaps Harvey’s most chilling thriller so far, mainly due to the reality that such an attack could take place.  We’ve all heard on the news of ways terrorists could kill large numbers of people using biological warfare; We All Fall Down gives readers a glimpse of the reality of the situation.

As in Harvey’s previous books in this series, Chicago political corruption runs rampant in this book. Harvey doesn’t shy away from showcasing both the high points and low points of his city. Michael Kelly continues to be one of my favorite crime fiction/thriller characters: his tough, gritty, and rough around the edges. He’ll stop at nothing, risking it all, to protect the city he loves.

Additionally, We All Fall Down is isn’t one of those mindless thrillers that solves itself before your eyes. The reader is forced to think, really examine the facts as they reveal themselves.

As We All Fall Down is part of a series, I do recommend you start at the beginning to truly capture the essense of the characters.  Once you start, I guarantee you won’t be able to stop! Highly recommended.




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