Genre: Fiction; Author: Ken Follett; Publisher: E.P. Dutton

When the debt-ridden son of pharmaceutical company CEO Stanley Oxenford breaks into a lab stocked with a nasty strain of Ebola, security director Toni Gallo has to track him down while simultaneously dragging around her elderly mother, butting heads with her detective ex-lover, fending off the advances of a tabloid journalist, and pining for her boss. Several of the book’s dozen characters end up stranded at Oxenford’s Scottish estate, where his family has assembled for Christmas Eve dinner during the region’s worst snowstorm in years. If it all sounds like too much, that’s because it is. In declarative sentences so brutish and short that they sometimes read as if they were written by a lobotomy patient, Whiteout is an uninspired but undeniably suspenseful thriller.

Originally posted November 26 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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