Death From Down Under

A Deadly Australian Virus Invades California

   As she walked through the empty stalls, Jen felt overwhelmed by the horror of the past few days. Now the place felt haunted. She needed to be with others, so she drove to the hospital.

     She waved to the deputy guarding the quarantine area and watched him pull down the Do Not Cross yellow tape, letting her leave her ranch. Parking in the lot in front of Twin Cities Hospital, she went through the front door and walked to the isolation area. Rory was already there, as well as Dr. Osborne’s wife, Susan who was sobbing in Rory's arms.

     “What happened?”

     “Troy passed away from pneumonia early this morning,” Rory said.

     Jen started shaking. “What about my husband? What about Victoria?”

     “They're okay so far. IV therapy will give them the edge they need to fight this thing,” replied a nurse near the group.

     “Why did Dr. Troy die in spite of your excellent IV therapy, then?” Jen asked, irritated.

     “It all depends on how many infectious particles a person is exposed to. Evidently, Dr. Osborne was too close to the situation for too long. His body could not kick out the infection even with support.”

     Jen was unnerved as well as angry. There would be no guarantee Randy or Victoria would be coming home either.

     “Can I see my husband?” Jen asked the nurse.

     “Yes, but I need to show you how to wear a PPE suit. You’ll also need to wear a mask, and if you want to touch the patient, you must have gloves taped to the sleeves of the gown.”

Dr. Rory Evans is a country veterinarian. His client Jen is a world-class Chesapeake Bay breeder who  called upon to sell one of her puppies to Billy, a rugged, wealthy widower in Australia. Jen's dedication to her breed sends her to the wild Australian forests to complete the sale while she waits for her puppy to be released from quarantine. For a month, she will be separated a continent apart from her home and her husband. During this time, she is drawn into the novelty of the Australian world. Her love of animals, her loneliness and her need for family, will send her down a rabbit hole of choices, and the path she picks proves disastrous.

 

Because of Jen’s actions an Australian disease previously unknown in the United States spreads through the central coast of California. State and Federal officials are brought in to stop the growing epidemic. As Jen's animals and friends become sick, Dr. Rory races to find answers as his client faces the consequences of her overseas visit. This veterinary medical thriller delves into love and loss amidst the horror of a deadly and elusive virus as it spreads from one continent to another. The story combines facets of human and veterinary medicine with notions of romance and loyalty amidst the rich tapestry of our interactions with our animal companions.

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