Scorpius Rising by Rebecca Zanetti {from On The Hunt}

On The HuntTitle:  Scorpius Rising
Series:  The Scorpius Syndrome prequel
Author:  Rebecca Zanetti
Genre:  Post-Apocalyptic, Romantic Suspense
Published:  August 25, 2015
Publisher:  Zebra
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  Purchased kindle Edition
Cover Description:

With a deadly disease spreading like wildfire across the country, microbiologist Nora Medina needs to focus all her energy on stopping the pandemic. Playing with dynamite—in the form of her way-too-hot ex—is the last thing she should be doing. But forced to work with Deacan McDougall against unexpected enemies with the seconds ticking by, she knows the explosion is coming…

Scorpius Rising is the prequel to the series The Scorpius Syndrome.  It did not launch as a separate novella, but as part of the four author anthology On The Hunt.

This review contains only my thoughts on Scorpius Rising.

Most of us figure the end of the world as we know it is going to come in a sudden white flash.  Some idiot hit their red button so the other side hit their’s in retaliation – end of humanity in one stupid, ego filled move.

No one expected it from the darkness of space.  No, not some huge moon sized rock heading for a direct hit.  But a small rock, a meteorite from the trail of the comet Scorpius as it passed us by.  A dumb, stupid rock that several college students discovered in the desert.  They broke apart the rock so that each could have a piece for themselves – then they licked the inside of the rock to see what it tasted like.  Really?  again… Really?

It only took days for the fevers to overtake them.  Fevers that several of them died from – the survivors though were changed somehow.  Crazed, madness inspired attacks where they bit others – and those bites spread the bacteria and lead to more deaths and more mad, crazed killers.

Our government did exactly what we’d expect of them – kept it quiet, while doctors and scientists scrambled for the cure.  Because not only those college students were infected, but the daughter of the President of the United States had bitten her father.  Nothing like attacking the top person in the country to get everyone working triple overtime fast to find out how to stop the spread and find the cure.

Scorpius Rising is the story of Nora and Deacan, a couple who used to be married but parted ways eight years ago.  Now back together in this fight against the unknown their emotions bring them back to each other.  Their steamy, and very satisfying romance is a strong thread running through this novella.  (I say that, but their romance is the true story, but for me this bacteria spreading became the main focus and main interest of this story almost from the very first page.)

Lynne Harmony was the infectious disease top scientist at the CDC.  She and Nora were best friends and worked in research, each in a slightly different field but this outbreak can use both of their knowledge and expertise.  Lynne has already got some magic potions swirling around in test tubes, but nothing seems to be effective just yet.  The one place you really have to be careful is in a bio-hazard lab.  Already suited up and sealed off to prevent anything from leaking out of the labs, it was one stupid, careless mistake that hastened the end of the world as we know it.

This bacteria does something to the brain – something that our medical machines and scans cannot detect.  For some it kills, for others it drives them crazy in a very short period of time and they rampage until killed… for others it creates a super intelligent serial killer.  One who knows exactly what they are doing and why.  That mistake back in the lab?  It created the last kind.

This is a whirlwind story where the action and the romance simply never, ever let up.  Just when you think it’s safe to take a breath or a coffee break – pow – something else happens.  Scorpius Rising is a frightening, intense, thrilling introduction to the world that will exist in The Scorpius Syndrome series.  I devoured this story as a prelude to reading Mercury Striking (which is out now) and then Shadow Falling will be out in August 2016.

Usually, and I stress usually most prequels to series aren’t vital to the rest of the series.  They certainly add to the story, give a good introduction but they aren’t a make or break for the stories to come.  Scorpius Rising is that exception to prove the rule.  When we start Mercury Rising, we are immediately aware that one of the main characters of this prequel factors big time in the first full length novel.

I strongly recommend, suggest and beg that you read the prequel first, it sets up so much of what is to come.  And it’s a darned good story in itself.

Available in audio, paperback and for the Kindle