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Dianne May
J.D.May, author
Factor-7 By J.D. May Factor-7 presents a terrifying but riveting scenario that’s ripped from the headlines—and, if things do not change, could very well be our new normal. The life of Dr. Sam Hawkins, the head trauma surgeon at Galveston’s St. Peter’s Memorial Hospital, is changed forever by the cryptic words of his dying friend and the string of blatant cover-ups that follow his demise. When a beautiful infectious disease doctor, Rainee Arienzo, enters his life, they soon realize that Sam’s friend had been willing to die to expose the sinister truth before a dangerous weapon could be unleashed upon the world. Reluctantly, and ill-equipped for such a task, Sam and Rainee team up to find the truth—but what they discover is far more than they could have imagined. As they are forced further and further into a world of murder, power, intrigue, and corruption, it becomes deathly clear that the exposure of the truth is just as dangerous as the group and weapon that they seek. Sam and Rainee must play with one of two devils to survive—or be burned by both. Life is made of choices, but they are not always ours to make. Factor-7 by J.D. May (Palmetto Publishing Group; Now in presale, Book launch January 5, 2021) is a bucking bronco ride of bio-weaponry, secrets, terror, betrayal, lies, infidelity, raw human emotions, and redeeming love. It’s a completely gripping thriller that will keep you turning the pages all through the night! Contains unvarnished adult situations. You think it could never happen. Factor-7 will make you think twice!
May's wide-ranging thriller blends together conspiracies, terrorism, romance, personal betrayals, and the possibility of an engineered pandemic as it unveils its complex web of characters. Set in modern-day Houston but soon sprawling out, the narrative centers on ER trauma doctor Dr. Sam Hawkins, whose friend, Bill Roberts, has died of a mysterious mutant virus. Hawkins must unravel the mystery not just of Factor 7, a virulent disease designed to kill, but also of the mysterious Keepers Collegium, a secretive organization as ancient as the Freemasons. With his unlikely ally, an Italian physician named Rainee Arienzo, Hawkins pieces together clues from Roberts's widow and faces surprising betrayals, a devil's bargain with the head of a drug cartel, and the stirrings of romance. The duo’s moral compass even against dires odds helps them survive.

May has developed a credible and terrifying biological profile for Factor 7. Her depiction of a centuries-old cabal whose mission is to root out evil and destroy it is fascinating, as is the idea of a renegade cell willing to unleash destruction to “cleanse” the sins of the world, convinced that the ends justify the means. However, this thriller’s focus shifts from these pressing issues to the personal lives of the protagonist, slowing the narrative momentum and diminishing the suspense of the Keepers’ targeted pandemic. Passages detailing the extended end of Sam's marriage or the awakening of feelings for Rainee blunt rather than ground the urgent intrigue of the espionage and conspiracy elements.

A series of anticlimaxes abruptly settles key characters and plot points. What seem like important villains get quickly dismissed, and a subplot involving an archenemy of Sam’s languishes unresolved. While May offers a compelling premise and explores a number of fascinating and timely topics, including COVID-19, Factor-7’s tendency to dilute its thriller elements ultimately results in a mixed bag as a reading experience.

Takeaway:Thriller lovers will enjoy this uneven novel’s take on virus outbreaks and secret societies.

Great for fans of: David Koepp's Cold Storage, Richard Preston's The Cobra Event, Mark Terry's The Devil's Pitchfork

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: C
Marketing copy: C


Oct 02, 2020Louise Gray 4.5 stars rated it really liked.Get ready, conspiracy theorists - this one will set your minds spinning! This was a genuine thriller in the true sense of the word and so cleverly done. There must have been a good deal of research behind the medical aspects of the story because it seemed completely credible and almost scary in the context of a global pandemic. You won’t want to put this one down!


Nov 25, 2020Chocoviv V.  5 stars rated it it was amazing

As I was slowly flipping through the pages, I was constantly at the edge of my seat. Sometimes, I couldn't believe what I had read as I did not expect certain situations to occur so suddenly! I felt like a spy, being suspicious of everyone that Sam met, especially Rainee.
Note: I definitely felt the connection to this book during this pandemic.

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