Excerpt from Isolation Ward by Joshua Spanogle, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Isolation Ward

By Joshua Spanogle

Isolation Ward
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Feb 2006,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2007,
    624 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

St. Raphael's was an old Catholic hospital, struggling to maintain its independence in the face of overtures--friendly and outright aggressive--from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. The hospital sat in the middle of a decayed neighborhood in the southwestern quadrant of the city, surrounded to the north and west by housing projects and to the south and east by a mix of old factories and abandoned row homes. The hospital served the needy in the immediate area, but extended its reach to the working-class neighborhoods of Pigtown and Locust Point. The last I heard, it was hemorrhaging money and talks with Hopkins and Maryland had started up again, this time at St. Raphe's behest. The former belle at the ball, now trying to dance with anyone who'd have her. Rumor had it the powers that be--admin at St. Raphe's, the Catholic archdiocese, the city, Hopkins, U of M--were just going to shutter the old girl. As the dirty pile of bricks, streaked black and dotted with a few forlorn statues of St. Raphael, came into view, I thought a mercy killing might not be the worst thing.

Still, there was a soft spot in my heart for the place. I'd just spent two weeks at St. Raphe's setting up a program to identify exactly the kinds of things that seemed to be happening. Outbreaks. Bioterror attacks. Bad things. St. Raphe's, in other words, needed me. Not like Hopkins, who basically taught my employers, the Epidemic Intelligence Service at CDC, how to play their game. If every employee at CDC were suddenly to die or, worse, to take a job in the private sector, Hopkins probably felt it could rebuild the Centers from scratch. No, St. Raphael's was a third-tier hospital in a city dominated by some of the best medicine in the world. My job was to get this old gal up to snuff.

Okay, my job. I am an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apropos of my duties--to conduct surveillance for and investigations of outbreaks of disease--the title of officer is a fitting one. The cop jargon has been with us for a long time. Medical detectives was often used to describe officers in the service by those on the outside and on the inside, though the term long ago fell out of use, perhaps because it sounded a little too self-aggrandizing at the same time it sounded a little too trite. Anyway, that's what we do. We look for and hunt down diseases.

As with many things--fashion, say, or diet plans--there is some circularity to the history of the EIS. Originally conceived at the start of the Korean War as an early-warning system for biological attack, the EIS has spent decades searching for things to do. And it's done a pretty good job of finding them. The Service was instrumental in restoring public confidence after a polio vaccine scare in the fifties, it helped erase smallpox from the world, in the late nineties and early '00s it tracked down and set up surveillance for West Nile virus. And now the country is back to freaking out about bioterrorism. Which is why I was in Baltimore, helping to patch a hole in the country's disease-surveillance net. Normally, an old hospital wouldn't merit much attention, but St. Raphe's proximity to the nation's capital scared the public health gods, who wanted to ensure that any outbreak in the area was identified quickly. So, they sent me to set up a surveillance program.

Excerpted from Isolation Ward by Joshua Spanogle Copyright © 2006 by Joshua Spanogle. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  133Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.