Eva, a doctor, and Greg, an aspiring musician, weather the realities of young adulthood: reconciling the dreams and responsibilities of love, work and parenthood -- until a deadly pandemic of Avian Flu puts their humanity to test. Two psychiatrists, a musician, a healer, a crazy nanny and a little boy struggle for survival in a dark, hungry city full of death. Their choices are shaped by horror, love and fate.
When I first saw the cover of The Joker, I knew that I had to read it - the tagline, "Love, Madness and Pandemic", tickling my scientific curiosity. I am a fan of medical thrillers, especially ones the integrate my field of study - microbiology - and this book was top-notch! Rarely do I find a book that I cannot put down, I usually like to take breaks here-and-there to pass the time, (or to forget about a bad plot-line), but Elena Bruck has a way of making almost every page exciting and compelling. Once I got past the first couple chapters, (character background, etc...), I was amazed at how well I knew, and sympathized with, the characters. Greg and Eva are realistic and well-developed even though they are in a constant state of transition - emotionally and physically. They not only "exist" to push the story along, but they constantly question the world around them and how they should interact with it. Speaking of interactions, every person, place, and object described plays an important role in the plot-line; the excellent attention to detail makes it easy to follow the flow of the story, and knowing what's integral to the plot, (not trivial minutia), allows for a better experience overall. The level of detail, however, does not interfere with the surprises the book has in store. There is a mild predictability throughout the story, but I was definitely left reeling in disbelief a few times when I thought I knew what was coming. The dialogue was fully-immersive, and the graphic content made me feel as if I was a scared and desperate New Yorker trying to wall myself off from the inevitable infection. I was very impressed by The Joker and its characters, Eva was my favorite, full of life, love, heartbreak, humor, and resolve. I finished the book a couple weeks ago and I still haven't forgotten about the plot twists and the ending, (No spoilers)! I honestly have nothing negative to say about this book, except that it ended too soon! I really hope that Elena Bruck writes another book, because her writing style has left me completely mesmerized! One of my new favorite authors! Recommended to all adult (17+) readers who are in the mood for a medical/post-apocalyptic thriller that will truly leave them breathless!
Rating: Clean Getaway (5/5)
*** I received this book from the author (LibraryThing) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.