When I started formulating ideas for my new thriller, Vaccine Nation, I settled first on writing about a gutsy, strong-willed woman protagonist. Dani North is 29-year-old award-winning documentary filmmaker and a single mom. Within the first few pages of the novel, she finds herself on the run and forced to live by her wits to stay alive.
Vaccine Nationis a fast-paced action thriller intended to be reminiscent of James Grady's Six Days of the Condor or Hitchcock's North by Northwest. While the book is designed to entertain, it also explores the very real issues in the current debate over vaccine safety in the mandatory U.S. National Immunization Program. Vaccine Nationis a dramatization of this debate, presented in the form of a thriller that will hopefully leave you breathless and make you think.
In Vaccine Nation, Dani just won at the Tribeca Film Festival for a documentary film critical of the pharmaceutical industry. She’s also just started work on a new documentary on autism. When a pharmaceutical industry vaccine researcher hands her smoking gun evidence about the U.S. National Immunization Program seconds before he’s murdered right in front of her, Dani finds herself implicated and pursued by the police.
She realizes what she’s been handed could have crucial implications on upcoming hearings by a Senate committee. The committee will reconsider Congress’ 1986 decision to grant the pharmaceutical industry immunity for claims by parents on damage to their children from the U.S. National Immunization Program. That puts Dani on the run in a race to understand and expose the evidence. That is, before the police can grab her, or Grover Madsen, a megalomaniacal pharmaceutical industry CEO, can have her hunted down by his hired killers. Madsen knows the explosive impact the data Dani has will have on the pharmaceutical industry: it would lead to lawsuits and subsequent multi-billion dollar settlements that would dwarf those that the tobacco industry made last decade.
The facts and issues in Vaccine Nationare accurate—the 1986 Congressional grant of immunity to the pharmaceutical industry, the toxicity of certain ingredients of vaccines, the controversy surrounding the safety and side-effects of vaccines, and vaccines’ suspected relationship to the autism epidemic. The debate on vaccine safety is increasing: recent CDC statistics show that 10 percent of parents (up from 2 to 3 percent) are avoiding or delaying vaccinating their children because of concerns about vaccine safety.