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Publisher's Summary

A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days, 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus.

The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.

©1999 Richard Preston (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about The Hot Zone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you love viruses and gore and non-fiction...

It's rare that a non-fiction book can be this exciting, this compelling, and this gory! Hot Zone certainly gets detailed, and I loved every second of it. Preston did an OUTSTANDING job researching this topic, and really becoming an expert on it. The way he crafted a story that will keep you guessing is nothing short of genius. Narrarator is outstanding. Overall, I'd rather read/listen to this non-fiction book than ANY of the fictional virus stories I've read. Yes, it's THAT good!

42 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Truth that's scarier than fiction...

This is an amazing book... it kept me up until 2:00AM one night 'cause I couldn't stop. A publisher's description of it has a line that says, "truth is scarier than fiction" and I have to agree with the stories in this book. There are several sections with various timeline stories that follow several outbreaks of the nastiest viruses, particularly ebolaviruses and marburgviruses. Preston did a great job of not only detailing events and technical aspects of the science, but he also does a great job of fleshing out characters involved... and scaring the bejesus out of me. There is a great, big, huge, UNFORTUNATELY at the end, though. For some schizophrenic reason, Preston absolutely ruins the ending of the book by going off on a MASSIVE liberal diatribe. After such a careful, intellectual presentation of facts and science, Preston, out of nowhere, drops an anti-intellectual theory on the reader by asserting that the nasty viruses are somehow the result of Mother Nature's vengeance on the human species, which he equates to the dignity of a parasite. I wonder how he feels when he realizes the number of trees it took to print all of his books...

23 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Riveting non-fiction account--truly scary

Would you listen to The Hot Zone again? Why?

This book was an excellent listen for a road trip. It kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole ride. I experienced a wide range of feelings, some of which included fear, disgust, repulsion, exhilaration, and relief. I felt that what was lost in the telling was the awful and unfair fate of the monkeys, who were happily swinging through trees, free in their mostly native habitats, and subsequently brought into this nightmare scenario. If you are not an animal rights person now, this book may make you wonder why not. It sure did for me.
The true tale certainly opened my eyes to what future scenarios could evolve, almost sci-fi in nature, and it left me wanting to search out more information on the subject.
Highly recommended!

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Melodramatic ebola overkill - poorly done

My favorite books usually have a medical twist, and I own a full shelve of plague books... but unlike most readers on Audible I didn't really care for this one. The reader repeatedly slaughtered pronunciations and so much drama in his voice. Then the writer seemed intent on showing you the most possible gore from a breakout. Then lots of buildup.... wait for it, wait for it.... a possible exposure of a main character... that doesn't happen. Then he dumps that breakout with no review to numbers involved and how it was stopped and fast forwards into the next near exposure and after that great build up.... nothing happens. To be honest I don't regret reading "The Hot Zone," there was some very interesting information... it just could have been presented so much better.

14 people found this helpful

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the scary truth

Where does The Hot Zone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

very high, very well done, easy to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?

the fact that its non fiction, all the info received from the story is factual and is happening as we sit here

Have you listened to any of Richard M. Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

ok, 20min in i don't think i could of listened to the whole thing, but by 50% in the guy is perfect. his mannerisms are really scary actually when expressing the situations that arise

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

my reaction is its like being hit by a truck of reality
medically, 100yrs from now, the medical community are going to laugh at us the way we laugh when we read that 100yrs ago they were figuring out we should wash our hands and sterilize equipments

Any additional comments?

just 1 thing, sorry for knocking it, but thanking the author for pronunciations that are incorrect was funny, i caught just 1 word so far. it doesn't take anything away from the story
i will listen again and also will get more preston books

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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If this doesn't scare you nothing will

Considering that there is a, at this time, uncontrolled Ebola outbreak I felt it time to do my duty and review this audio. Firstly, when listening to this audio it doesn't seem at all like non-fiction, the author has done a very good job of bridging the gap and creating these true events into a story like pattern that will scare the living hell out of you.

Warning: It's graphic. If you've never read any information on the way one meets their demise "crashes" after being infected with Ebola, Marburg etc.. it's not pretty, in fact it's something straight out of a Stephen King novel. Next time someone even sneezes by you a whole new thought process will instantly take place and you'll squirm as fast as you can away from the epicenter.

This book doesn't slow down for a second and reads like a bio warfare crime drama in which someone is bleeding out ever other paragraph. Read it and then go wash your hands.

That is all... over.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another Great Work from RP.

If you could sum up The Hot Zone in three words, what would they be?

Addictive, Scary and Real.

Which scene was your favorite?

I really enjoyed the Level 4 scenes and has spiked my interests in working there one day.

Any additional comments?

One will really appreciate works like this when in the Scientific world. As a matter of fact, I really enjoyed this audiobook and kept me thinking about my own experiments in the lab and really wish to work with Hot agents like these ones in the book in Hazmat suits one day in my career. Richard Preston really knows and understands what he writes about since he does his researches very well and in detailed. I pray and hope Audible Un-transcribes his other great works like The Cobra Event into Audiobooks. Not forgetting a great read from Richard M. Davidson, a few hitches being a lot of echoes from the reader at a particular point in the first part of the book. In all, it was a great book read by a good reader and I will recommend it to all interested or have something to do with Science....it will make you love your work.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

This book is wonderfully written. It is science writing at it's best. It is also very scary. I kept hoping it was science fiction, but it is science fact. It flows like "the Andromeda Strain" but every word is true. This book is an adventure and a trip I was happy to take.
I read it 20 years ago and loved it even more listening now to the audio version.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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recording needs technical assistance

What made the experience of listening to The Hot Zone the most enjoyable?

The story does exemplify that truth is scarrier than fiction. The narration is well done however when a writer/narrator does a technical reading there needs to be someone to "edit" pronunciations of technical terms/names. There were a few that were so jumbled that I had to try to spell out in order to determine of what he was writing. (exp. "pseudomonas")
Tonya

Who was your favorite character and why?

The monster virus ebola.

Which scene was your favorite?

The book was terrifying from beginning to end!

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't Even Get Through It

What disappointed you about The Hot Zone?

The story was about as dry as an old saltine cracker. It went around and around in circles getting nowhere. By half way through the story I finally gave up. Poorly written, poorly read. Too bad, the concept was a good one.

Has The Hot Zone turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

How could the performance have been better?

Delivery could have been done with more verbal alacrity and interest, but there was only so much they could do with a poorly written book,

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom. A "Come ON, get ON with it will you?" "Where's this story going?"

Any additional comments?

Uh, no.

5 people found this helpful