Picks and Pans Review: The Second Angel
by Philip Kerr
Never mind the title: The setting for this science fiction novel is anything but heavenly. The time is 2069, the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, when Earth has been ravaged by a devastating virus. The only cure is a complete transfusion of uninfected blood, which effectively divides the population into healthy haves and infected have-nots and makes clean blood the only currency of value.
The setup is ambitious, and Kerr backs up his plot with plenty of science. But anemic characters and lengthy footnotes on everything from quantum mechanics to the Bible bog down the pace and slowly drain the life from this would-be thriller. (Henry Holt, $25)
Bottom Line: A pint short