WHITE SLEEPER, by David Fett & Stephen Langford, Synergy Books, 272 pp., $12.89 ($8.99 Kindle).
Osama bin Laden may be gone, but threats of terrorist attacks on the United States still remain a frightening possibility. Among the scariest scenarios is an attack using toxic biological agents, which could cause untold number of deaths throughout this country.
That’s the unsettling premise that drives the new bioterrorist thriller White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford, which has been published to critical acclaim by Synergy Books. Fett, a Los Angeles-based ophthalmologist and bioterrorism expert, and Langford, a screenwriter and producer, are longtime friends who teamed up to write a story that combines the threat of a homegrown terrorist linking up with foreign terrorists who wreak biological havoc on the United States, each with their own reasons.
When Arkansas experiences a wave of rare, fatal diseases, the CDC calls in Dave Richards, a doctor with a shady past, to investigate. Richards sees this as an opportunity to clear his reputation and save his career. He joins with FBI agent Paula Mushari to investigate the seeming plague. When they think they’ve found the person responsible for the bioterrorism, the find themselves drawn deeper into a sinister pact between a white supremacist and a vengeful terrorist sect, each bent on causing mass destruction on the American populace. Richards and Mushari must race against the clock – and their own personal issues – to prevent a catastrophic plague from breaking out.
White Sleeper is Fett’s first published book, although he has published many articles in his field. “I’ve always had an interest in toxicology,” says Fett, who holds a graduate degree in toxicology from MIT. “I thought for some time about writing a non-fiction book on bioterrorism. I told Steve about my idea and he suggested collaborating with him on a novel.”
Fett did extensive research on biological agents and bioterrorism, and he and Langford began to meet weekly to work out the narrative and characters for White Sleeper. The title, Fett notes, springs from the concept of a Caucasian homegrown terrorist joining with a foreign terrorist sleeper cell, “like a cross between Timothy McVeigh and Al Qaeda.”
Fett’s main reasons for writing White Sleeper were “entertainment and education,” he says. ‘The thriller part is to make people wake up. People need to be vigilant, act together, and open themselves up to the world at large. We need to protect the whole world from homegrown and foreign terrorists.”
Both Fett and Langford are fans of the biological terror novels of Michael Crichton (“The Andromeda Strain”) and Robin Cook (“Coma”), so it was natural for them to conceive a novel in a similar vein, Fett says. In one respect, then, White Sleeper is a tribute to those writers.
The authors have also written a screenplay based on White Sleeper, but, Langford says, “right now, we’re just trying to get the book out to the public.
DAVID FETT is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and Fellowship trained Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeon specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery around the eye. He has a busy private practice in Los Angeles and is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.
Dr. Fett earned his MD from Dartmouth Medical School. He completed his Ophthalmology Residency training at UCLA and The Jules Stein Eye Institute and Fellowship training in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from The University of Illinois in Chicago.
He received both a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology and a Master of Science in Toxicology from MIT. While in medical school, under the auspices of MIT and the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Fett used his toxicology training and Spanish fluency to help uncover the epidemiologic source and subsequently find a solution for a Colombian indigenous community plagued by stomach cancer.
Dr. Fett resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Randi. They have four children, two dogs and two cats.
STEPHEN LANGFORD is the veteran writer producer of over one hundred and fifty hours of primetime television writing. His credits include Family Matters and Malcolm and Eddie. He later became a screenwriter writing the motion picture Lovewrecked. His latest produced film is “The Nanny Express” which is running on the Hallmark Channel.
Langford grew up in the Boston area and later attended Emerson College where he received a Bachelor of Science in Film. After college, Langford began working in the motion picture field working for such film directors as Sidney Lumet and Joel Schumacher. Currently Langford lives in Tarzana with his wife Sandy and their two children Allyson and Erica. He is also the proud owner of a Jack Russell terrier named Betty and Chihuahua named Tovah.