We All Fall Down

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Free copy provided by the publisher.

WE ALL FALL DOWN is a medical thriller crossed with historical fiction - it is fast paced and full of thrill and action and the alternating chapters between a fourteenth century barber surgeon’s diary and a present day NATO doctor are brilliant!

A modern day story of the plague set in Genoa, Italy, medical staff from NATO and WHO are sent in to investigate the source of the plague. It’s unusually fast spread across Italy raises the question of bioterrorism...

The author’s medical background and scientific research bring authenticity to this plausible story. Well done!
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It was a excellent thriller that  combined stories from the past and present seamlessly.  I recommend it for those who like medical thrillers.  I  would like to thank netgalley for letting me review this book
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We All Fall Down is a suspenseful novel about a modern-day plague which closely resembles the Black Death which occurred 800 years ago. The author, Daniel Kalla MD, is an emergency room physician from Vancouver BC. Dr Alana Vaughn, a doctor with the NATO infectious diseases department arrives in Genoa, Italy to investigate the sudden critical illness of a woman who was working at a construction site where  an ancient monastery had been demolished. The contagion soon claims several more victims, thereby baffling the medical experts. The plague then mysteriously spreads to Naples and Rome, leaving the medics at a loss to determine what or who is the carrier of this contagious atrocity. Time being of the essence, the doctors from NATO and the World Health Organization rush to solve the mystery of where the plague started and how it is spread. If you enjoy tense medical drama, this novel is for you. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Daniel Kalla's style of writing, especially when dealing with medical issues/terms. He makes it clear and understandable without going on and on about boring things that will just clog up the story.

This book is thrilling. I love a good pandemic type story and this one does not disappoint. While we "sort of" know what is happening before the main characters do, its still intriguing as Kalla leaves a lot of unsolved issues and keeps them to the very end.

Although I had to read this slowly (time constraints) I was always annoyed that I had to put it down for "real life" and looked forward to picking it up again.

The only reason I did not give this a 5 stars is that I HATED the forced romance in this book. This story could have easily survived without any of that and I wish it had. I am not sure why Kalla felt the need to insert that in an otherwise captivating read.
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Dr Alana Vaughn, working with NATO, is summoned to Genoa, Italy by her former lover and WHO partner Nico to help him with what appears to be a case of bubonic plague. This is the disease that decimated Europe in the mid 1300s but now only produces a handful of cases each year primarily in Africa. This new outbreak of the disease quickly spreads and is unusual in the speed that symptoms develop and rapidly lead to death. Alana and Nico race to find the cause. Did the first patient bring it back from Africa? Could terrorism be involved? What does the new development on the site of an ancient monastery have to do with it? Does the old priest know something? How is the Muslim man involved? I love medical mysteries and this one did not disappoint. As the cases spread beyond Genoa,  WHO and NATO work together with Italian authorities to discover what, or who, caused this outbreak and try to get it rapidly under control. The book demonstrates the techniques they use to solve this mystery much as any detective solves his crimes.  Of course there is a litte romance thrown to keep things human. The book moves rapidly and comes to a conclusion I found surprising but believable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author. I wish to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion and was not swayed by getting the book for free.
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Pneumonic plague.  Bad, very very bad.  And now it's back in modern Italy.  Dr. Alana Vaughn finds herself trying to figure out what's happening- what set off this epidemic.  Is it terrorism?  Working with Byron, she must determine not only the cause but also how to stop it.  Told from a variety of viewpoints- most notably through the diary entries of Rafael Pasqua, a barber surgeon who watched the Black Death spread in 1348- this is a very well constructed medical thriller.  Kalla's background no doubt is responsible for the impressive explanations of epidemiology and the science of plague.  His writing is crisp, his characters well drawn, and all in all, it's a good read.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A page turner.
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In 1348 the Black Death came to Genova, Italy. A young barber surgeon, Rafael Pasqua, documents the effects of the terrible plague on his community. The epidemic ravaged most of Europe and left its population decimated. It's not been seen again for hundreds of years.

Present day Genoa: A construction worker dies suddenly and had first exhibited the classic symptoms of bubonic plague. Is this Patient Zero in a new outbreak of this dreaded disease? Before long, the city is inundated with more cases including the more lethal form, pneumonic plague. A team from the World Health Organization descends on the city along with Alana Vaughn, an infectious diseases expert with NATO who is summed there by an old paramour. It is indeed Black Death. Is this somehow a reoccurrence of the plague related to an old monastery that was being torn down or is it bioterrorism? The doctors, scientists and epidemiologists are in a race against time as the horrible plague spreads across Italy. NO SPOILERS.

If you know me, you know I absolutely love thrillers that involve some sort of medical condition and I'm totally obsessed with books written about the Black Death. This one did not disappoint and I devoured it in a few hours unable to set it down even for a second. I loved the scientific details and the descriptions in both past and present of how the disease affected the people and the communities in which it occurred. This is a story of disease, yes, but it's also a story about the individuals who travel to all parts of the world to contain and eradicate evolving bio threats. When a disease of this magnitude re-emerges, it can rapidly spread and develop into a pandemic and those infectious disease experts are there to prevent calamity and save lives. I liked the writing, the characters and the story and highly recommend it. Definitely a book I'm going to be pushing to all my friends this spring!

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this e-book ARC to read and review. I enjoyed this so much that I intend to seek out the other books written by this author.
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We All Fall Down reads like a high-octane two part episode of an interchangeable average network television show.

We All Fall Down is told through multiple perspectives, the main character, Dr. Alana Vaughn, an 800-year-old diary, and the perpetrator of the release of the plague.

Dr. Vaughn is your standard capable female main character. She’s intelligent, physically capable, and sensual with a romantic past connection to another character. She isn’t fleshed or given much depth. Mind you, all the characters are not given much depth since the plague, it’s release, and containment are the main focus of the story.

I disliked the diary chapters. I found them tedious and annoying as they often cut in the middle of the action to give readers information that isn’t relevant until later in the story. Though, Kalla does a fine job of portraying the setting and showing readers the atmosphere and chaos the Black Death created.

The reason I rated the novel three stars instead of two is because the science is on point. The portrayal of the scientists and epidemiologists are credible and informative without being overly obtuse. The science of the disease itself and its containment was fascinating to read. Kalla is a doctor himself and it shows in this regard.

Overall, We All Fall Down is an okay read that passes the time if you’re looking for a high stakes story rooted in science.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
An eight hundred year old monastery in Genoa, Italy is being torn down to make way for more modern buildings. Vittoria Fornero is in charge of the construction site and isn't going to let anything slow down the project, including a monk that lived at the former monastery. Brother Silvio shows up at the site daily with a fold up chair and a black satchel and watches the progress of the excavation. The monk has been spooking some of the workers with tales of old concerning the monastery. All of this along with a sudden bout of illness is too much for Vittoria and she collapses at work. 
Dr.Alana Vaughn receives a text from a former colleague, Dr. Nico Oliva, whom she worked with at the World Health Organization.  Two words had her packing for Genoa immediately. Those two words were "the plague". This is not the first time in history that the Monastery has been at the center of a deadly outbreak and Alana and Nico must discover how it is spreading now.

This story is told from the perspective of two time periods, that of the medieval outbreak recounted by Rafael Pasqua, and from the present day investigations of Doctors Alana Vaughn and Nico Oliva. The modern day doctors race against time to find the source of the plague and try to contain it before it ravishes the population of Italy as it did once before centuries ago. The journals of Rafael tell about the horrors of the bubonic plague sweeping thru his time. Both timelines have one thing in common and that is the monastery.

Fast paced story that has both timelines told in separate narratives that are seamlessly tied together.
 A compulsive read with well developed characters that will hold you on the edge of your seat till the final pages.
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We All Fall Down is a frightening story because it's so plausible. We've all heard of the plague, the black death, that killed unfathomable numbers of people in the middle ages. Imagine the plague today. That's what this story does. A woman is diagnosed by the government authorities with the plague. Is it bioterrorism? The race is on to stop the spread of the disease. They must find patient zero. The story is engaging and thrilling. It moves quickly. The characters are believable and intelligent. It's a scary premise to think about.  Bioterrorism is very real. It's definitely a thought provoking novel. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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3.5 stars.
 I wish to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this ARC in return for an honest review.  I was not aware of any current medical mysteries, a category I used to enjoy. The author, Daniel Kalla , is an emergency room doctor, who puts his medical and scientific knowledge, as well as research into the epidemiology of the Black Death into a convincing narrative. 

 The book was well written with believable and interesting characters. I sometimes felt a lack of connection with the protagonists, and an emotional detachment from the well-described events when I should have been feeling suspense and dread.  

 Dr. Alana Vaughn, an infectious disease expert working for NATO, has been summoned to Genoa by a former lover and co-worker in dangerous and disease-ridden trouble-spots overseas. She has been requested to observe and help diagnose a female patient at the hospital where he is presently working. They are horrified to discover that the woman has a deadly form of pneumatic plague, a disease not prevalent for centuries. The woman worked at the demolition site of an 800-year-old monastery. Soon other patients have been admitted with the lethal illness and are succumbing to it 

  There is a scramble to produce a vaccine, but any prevention or cure will come too late for the earliest victims. If the source of the infection is not found soon and contained, the results will be catastrophic. Millions could die. Alana is joined in the investigation by another disease expert, Byron Menke, from WHO, the agency where Alana previously worked. Alana suspects that the disease had its origin in bioterrorism. Byron has his doubts and plans to search for Patient Zero before the plague spreads and causes Europe-wide death unseen since the Black Death. 

 A patient in Rome has contacted the sickness, and soon people are been admitted to hospital in  Naples. Some are presenting symptoms of pneumatic or in bubonic plague. The investigation is drawn back to the remains of the ancient monastery. There Alana uncovers a medieval manuscript which may provide clues to the new potential epidemic. A doctor in the 1300s kept a journal of his observations and experiences at the time the Black Death was raging across Europe and decimating the monastery and surrounding area.  His writings had been preserved in the monastery library.  

 The chapters alternate between the events and thoughts of the doctor in this centuries-old document and the frantic rush of the present day investigators to find the cause of the plagues’ reappearance, and the hurry by medical researchers to invent an effective preventive serum and cure.  Terrified crowds during the Black Death scapegoated Jews, blaming them for poisoning water sources. In the present day, some people start reacting to rumours that Moslem terrorists have unleashed the disease in an act of terrorism. 

 Alana and  Byron are horrified to learn that the plague is being carried towards Asia, which would result in  worldwide death of cataclysmic proportions. Is it possible to stop it in time?

  This was a fascinating and informative story of how epidemiologists and scientists in medical labs react to previously unknown new disease outbreaks, and to diseases which have been dormant for centuries. This should keep readers informed and riveted to the book. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a gripping medical mystery.
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“We All Fall Down” is a thought-provoking book which looks squarely at a cataclysm of unimaginable proportions. The Black Death has arrived in Italy and the story will tell us how people will react to the catastrophe. Will Dr. Alana Vaugh, an infectious diseases expert with NATO find the source in time to save the world?

Daniel Kalla who practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has once again written an absolutely riveting drama hard to put down. Very knowledgeable in the subject, his words plunges his readers’ right in the middle of the crises where experts are on the hunt to track down Patient Zero. Their search brings them across an 800 year monastery and a medieval journal that may be key to understanding and solving the outbreak.

This 10th novel that combines suspense with a historical mystery is told in alternating chapters drawing us back to the Middle Ages where the initial outbreak took place then we are smoothly taken forward to today’s crises where NATO, WHO and local representatives need to find a solution. Mr. Kalla demonstrates a masterful skill needed for genuine suspense by capitalizing and building on the danger of exposure and the panic ensuing. The writing shines with medical and scientific expertise. 

No person is left unscathed, no family untouched. Death grows insatiable……this is scary to think, could biological terrorism really happen, how fast can viruses spread and how safe are we?
Mr. Kalla is one of my favourite authors and I wouldn’t miss any of his books. I read them all….This latest is a well-done nail biting thriller….
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This was another absolutely brilliant story by Daniel Kalla. It deserves more than the 5 stars that I'm able to give.

Dr. Alana Vaughn is brought to Genoa, Italy by a former flame to examine a critically ill patient of his. Alana is an infectious diseases expert with NATO. She is frightened by the discovery that the patient is suffering from the Black Death, in other words the plague. Alana wants to explore the possibility that this is an act of bio-terrorism, however her colleagues at her former employer WHO disagree with her. They start a massive search for Patient Zero. Along the way they realize that excavation at an 800 year old monastery ties into the epidemic. Alana is given access to a medieval journal that documents the plague spread across Europe. As the deadly disease spreads to other cities, they realize that the answers they seek are on a ship headed to Asia, where if the plague is released, the results would be catastrophic. 

A riveting read that was extremely hard to put down. Looking forward to Dr. Kalla's next book.
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