You know that line from Grey’s Anatomy when Meredith has to see a therapist and they’re going through her personal file, and she says it reads like a page-turner? That’s often how I feel about series where the main character isn’t a cop but is nevertheless going through unusually dangerous or exceptional situations, a lot more often than most regular people. It shouldn’t be plausible but if it’s well-written, like the Kate Morrison series, it works.
In Pathogen, book 2 of the series, Kate is asked (not told, this time) to join an investigation: an unknown and mysterious virus seems to be killing people in the very exclusive and wealthy town of Hidden Valley. Andy is working the cop part and Kate is happy to escape her overbearing boss at the hospital.
The virus situation sounds a lot like what Covid-19 must have looked like to the first healthcare professionals who encountered it. Pathogen was published in 2016 however, but the parallels make it even more fascinating to read right now.
There’s a second storyline going on in the background, that of Kate’s coming-out, her discovery of what life as a lesbian (since that’s what she now seems to identify as) is like. Andy is worried about it, Kate not so much. At first. I like that the author didn’t simply assume that because she’s head over heels in love with Andy, Kate’s life is all happiness and fluff. On a third level, Kate is also pondering the direction her professional life is taking. That first sentence I wrote about too much happening in one person’s life? Kate isn’t fooled either.
If I had to use only one word to say what this story is about, it would be “uncertainty”. Uncertainty about the how, when, why of the virus. Uncertainty about Kate’s future, both professional and personal. About who she is, who she wants to be, who she can be. Never about who she loves, however, although even that is not as simple as it seems.
I got swept up in this book just as easily as with the first one. I love Kate and Andy and hope to see more of Jack. The thriller is intricate and exciting, and just thinking about it hours after I finished reading leaves me breathless. I hate the ending, but it makes total sense. I don’t hate it because it’s bad, I hate it because it’s good and I can’t jump right into book 3 since I have so many books to read right now (one of which is Jessica L. Webb’s newest novel, Storm Lines, so that makes me feel a little better). I hate it because it broke my heart a little. It’s a good kind of hate.