Standiford's debut is a riveting thriller about a lethal biological weapon. A scientist has developed a supergerm that produces a hemorrhagic fever, with which he plans to blackmail his company, PetroDyne. The company's executives order Skanz, a half-mad hit man, to kill the scientist but the terrible invention is already on its way to Yellowstone Park, via tanker truck. Its dim-witted driver spills the germ agent, infecting Native American and park resident Isaac Brigham Smith, local merchant Larraine Webber and forest ranger Jack Fairchild.
Jack and Larraine are ``rescued'' and taken to a makeshift ``hospital'' in the park where PetroDyne, desperate to keep the spill a secret, plans to let the victims die their gruesome deaths. The duo escapes, however, and a gripping pursuit through the park's canyons and mountains ensues. They are found by Isaac, who sets traps for the PetroDyne hit squads, but the ravages of the disease and the superhuman ruthlessness of Skanz leave the reader on tenterhooks beyond the last page.