Mark Terry

Saturday, October 28, 2006

David Morrell Reviews THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK

October 28, 2006
Yesterday the International Thriller Writers, Inc., newsletter debuted a new column dubbed MASTERS CORNER, in which famous, wildly successful bestselling thriller authors review the work of a new author. I am positively delighted that THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK was chosen for this honor and that David Morrell, author of FIRST BLOOD, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE and CREEPERS (he invented Rambo, after all) wrote a rave review about my book. I've been a big fan for years and credit David for teaching me much of what I might know about writing action sequences. Here's the piece:

THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK, reviewed by David Morrell

If you're morbidly fascinated by terrifying viruses like I am, you won't be able to stop reading Mark Terry's debut thriller. It's not that the book is derivative--quite the contrary. It's just that Mark has a degree in microbiology and experience with infectious disease research. I get the sense that he also has first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be in a smothering "spacesuit" amid the hazards of a Level 4 containment unit.

The tense, slow-motion care that those closed facilities demand contrasts with the break-neck speed that the narrative takes on. The main character, Derek Stillwater, is a troubleshooter for Homeland Security who is summoned to investigate a massacre in which a doomsday virus is stolen from a high-security installation. Engineered by U.S. scientists as an experiment, the virus Chimera M13 kills gruesomely within hours, not the days or weeks usually associated with hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola. With no antidote, the virus is capable of eradicating the entire human race in a matter of weeks.

The book has several disturbing villains. One is the man responsible for the theft of the virus: a presumed-dead, charismatic cult leader who has many identities and was once Stillwater's partner. Another villain is the U.S. government's incompetent bureaucracy, and yet another is the group of arrogant scientists who engineered Chimera M13 just to see what might happen. While this debut thriller is fiction, I suspect that similar research is being conducted by someone somewhere. Inquiring minds and all that.

This is a strong, fast-paced, action-filled novel that vividly dramatizes the perils and ethical issues of bioengineering viruses. The scenes in the Level 4 unit left me literally breathless.

Editor's Note: Morrell is a co-founder of ITW and best-selling author of CREEPERS, just released in paperback.

Okay, I'm glowing. I am. Thanks David. And folks, CREEPERS is a really terrific, well, creepy novel.

Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...


What can I say?


1:50 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

That was pretty much my reaction, too. A good day, definitely.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mon Congrats! I had the pleasure of hanging out with Mr. Morrell at last year's writer's conference in Colorado Springs. What an amazing talent. And though I personally didn't like Creepers, I certainly respect the man's track record and creativity. You could hardly ask for a better review than that, by one person that many will listen to.

May your novel become a bestseller!

4:55 AM  
Blogger Rob Gregory Browne said...

Congratulations, Mark. That's fantastic.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Dory said...

Big Grats on Dave Morrell's endorsement.

On another note: Was touched and loved the bit about visiting your mother and the dialogue that followed.

Would love to see you develop that further; perhaps a character having a parent with Altzheimers.

DP is on my TBR list. Hope to get to it soon.


6:18 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks. I've never met David, although I e-mailed him to thank him and we back-and-forthed a bit. I'm probably a bigger fan of his earlier stuff, especially "The Brotherhood of the Rose," "The Fraternity of the Stone," "The League of Night and Fog," "The Fifth Profession" (one of my favorites), but I was quite taken with "Creepers." It's a little bit--actually quite a bit--different than his other books, and I had a few issues with the premise initially, but it got very involving.

And like you say, Christian, quite a track record.

The medical thriller I'm working on at the moment builds rather heavily on my experiences with Alzheimer's patients--maybe too heavily--but we'll see if it flies.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

My Mom passed away in February 2006 from Altzheimers complications. She suffered with it for almost 15 years. It is a horrible disease and my thoughts and prayers will be with you. I always felt she knew I was a friendly face and she knew I belonged there but she did not know I was her son or what my name is. Keep the faith.......Chris...........

4:54 AM  

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