“Dead Air” bioweapons premise is a frightening reality

Today the New York Times reported that a virologist in Rotterdam (Ron Fouchier) was able to  genetically tweak one of the deadliest flu viruses to create an airborne version in the lab with surprising ease . My first “adventure” in the novel “Dead Air” by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid involved a foreign pharmaceutical company altering the AIDS virus. Ironically, that’s the virus Fouchier had originally studied. However, after switching  to the H5N1 virus, a type of bird flu, he was able to alter the genetics with only a few mutations and transform it into a supergerm that could cause a deadly pandemic if ever released. This has renewed debate about the ethics of some kinds of medical experiments. The Dutch government and the US CDC approved the laboratory and the NIH gave the center where the work was done a 7 year contract for the flu research. Now the government is recommending that Fouchier not publish any details of his work that could reveal how it was accomplished.

My question: is the cat out of the bag? What do you think? Let me know. I welcome your comments. In the meantime, “Dead Air” is still FREE as a Kindle download until the end of December, 2011.



“Dead Air” by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid may be fiction, but it’s “dead on”

The authors of “Dead Air, Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid, wrote the thriller as a cautionary tale. As medical research has become more and more competitive, with funding often only availabe from corporate sources with profit motives, conflicts of interest are a real issue – one that literally costs human subjects and, ultimately, patients taking a drug that should not have been approved, their lives. ThisWall Street Journal article details the growing number of real life examples of poor medical research coming out of ostensibly prestigious institutions and published in widely-respected medical journals. This is becoming a serious problem that doesn’t normally get much press. Read the article, then read the book. “Dead Air” may be fiction, but as far as a premise, it’s really dead on!!

– Sammy

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid, winner of Royal Palm Literary Award

Why medical research needs better oversight

Just as in the novel Dead Air, written by my creators, Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid, this op ed piece points out the dangers of inadequately monitored medical research.Carl Elliott, who teaches bioethics at the University of Minnesota, talks about “seeding trials” in which a pharmaceutical company tries to promote a new drug to physicians in the guise of a research study. In point of fact, these are really marketing strategies- not well designed clinical research protocols.Because the drugs have already been approved by the FDA, the “trials” are not considered illegal and are not reviewed by the agency. So when bad things happen to the subjects, as it has with several drugs cited by Elliott, that information may take years to reach the public- if ever- since there is no requirement that the pharmaceutical company report any problems.

Bottom line: Given the fact that the government won’t regulate as it should, my advice is this: be very, very careful before you volunteer for a study that is conducted by a private company. The characters in the fictional medical thriller, Dead Air didn’t and look what happened to them. It’s no joke.

Take care!


Dead Air by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid

Devil Wind book signing at Vero Beach Bookstore

Last weekend Deborah did an informal book signing at one of her favorite independent bookstores: The Vero Beach Book Center. Located at 2145 Indian River Blvd in Vero Beach, it is a wonderful store with terrific staff who love books! If you missed the signing, stop in for a copy of Devil Wind. Here’s Deb in front of the store:

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid book review by Fran Lewis

Hi guys! Read this wonderful review of “Dead Air” – the first of my adventures. You can read it in hardback, on eBooks and you can now hear it on CD or download MP3!

Dead Air, winner of Royal Palm Literary Award for best thriller 2010

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid now an Audiobook

I am so excited! For those of you who like to listen rather than read, Dead Air is now an Audiobook from De Novo Productions.  Barbara Whitesides, nationally known radio talk show host recorded the book. You can buy it on CD on their site. It will soon be available as an MP3 download at De Novo’s site as well as through Amazon (Audible.com) and iTunes.

Buy it and let me know what you think. Your feedback is always appreciated!!

Shlian Books Newsletter


Sign up for the Shlian Books Newsletter and a chance to win a free autographed copy of Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid. Here’s the link. Lots of news about me and my creators. Hope to hear from you!!

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid featured on Kindle Nation

Just in time for the New Year, Kindle Nation is featuring Dead Air. So, head on over by clicking here ! Dead Air is a great read if I do say so myself (after all, I am the star). Deborah and Linda have been busy writing me into all kinds of adventures. Stay tuned for Devil Wind which arrives in April. As Donald Bain (author of Murder She Wrote) says, “it’s a whirlwind of a mystery”

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid: Another Yiddish dictionary


Lots of you have asked me about the Yiddish words in Dead Air and the upcoming novel Devil Wind. I posted one some months back (check under Yiddish). Well, here’s another. Not many young people know how to speak the language, although many phrases have creapt into our everyday language – like chutzpah. So have fun!! And read Dead Air- I’m in it!! You can order directly from my website

Dead Air by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid: why set the story on a college campus

People asked Deborah and Linda why they placed Dead Air, the story of an unethical medical research project, on a college campus. Here’s what the authors said in a recent interview:

“We were both physicians at UCLA and have spent much of our professional lives on campuses, gaining first-hand experience with medical centers and research. Because less public money has been available in recent years for clinical studies, universities have increasingly looked to corporate or private moneyed entities for funding. These relationships have the potential to create conflicts of interest, negatively affecting the mission, vision, and operations of these institutions. Researchers, like the fictitious Dr. Palmer in our novel, may compromise ethics to meet corporate goals and objectives. Sadly, we’ve seen how inaccurate and false results on several drug studies have actually harmed real patients. As one reviewer wrote, ‘Dead Air is eerily timely.'”

Check out more about Dead Air on my website. You can read Dead Air in hardback or eBook now. The audio version will be coming in a few months!



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