When incidents of food supply contamination dominate the news media, two investigators—Zol Szabo, a public health doctor, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious diseases specialist—come under immense pressure to find the cause of a mysterious epidemic before more victims show up on the autopsy table. In a race against the clock, the two doctors must navigate the treacherous political minefields of the medical community and the media while the disease spreads. The situation soon spins wildly out of control and more lives are threatened after a government-appointed investigator hijacks the investigation and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense. Speaking to contemporary concerns about food safety, this fast-paced medical thriller illustrates the potential for disastrous consequences when total responsibility for food safety is placed in the hands of manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.
Ross Pennie is a physician and a professor at McMaster University. He is the author of The Unforgiving Tides. He lives in Brantford, Ontario.
"An honest, compelling tale of life, death, and the mystery of all that lies in between." “Ray Robertson, Moody Food
"Canadian physician Pennie's mystery debut introduces a winning protagonist, an Ontario public health doctor and former chef...The appealing supporting cast includes a gorgeous female PI. Pennie, an infectious-disease specialist, makes the medical jargon accessible." “Publishers Weekly
"What works are the two likeable and convincing doctors and the scary plot. Pennie's message—that no matter how safe our world seems, it's still very fragile—is timely and true." “The Globe and Mail
"Pennie is a bright new addition to the Canadian mystery writing scene...Tainted is a must read for 2009. Best yet, it's the first in a series." “Hamilton Spectator
"Fascinating and fast-paced, a medical thriller with the high-stakes tension of a frightening epidemic. Ross Pennie knows how to weave real science with crackling suspense." “Tess Gerritsen, author, Keeper of the Bride
"A taut and timely work of suspense...Pennie builds tension perfectly, grabbing readers from the first page and keeping them entranced, both with the story itself and with nagging worries about the safety of the food they eat...Must reading for fans of Robin Cook and Peter Clement." — Booklist
"A timely, fascinating and scary simulation of the scientific detective work involved in an outbreak investigation...[Pennie] stoutly eschews the potboiler epidemic of gratuitous sex, wild derring-do and cinematic hyperbole for stark realism." “Winnipeg Free Press
"Pennie encounters magic — and so will his readers." “Cathy Vasas-Brown, author, Every Wickedness