“Religion is the smallpox of the mind, and I am its Jonas Salk,” states the evil mastermind who is behind a wave of global terrorist attacks in Mind Virus. The villain (whose name shall not be revealed here so as not to spoil some of the fun) believes the optimum way to eradicate this virus of the mind is to kill the infected hosts – otherwise known as people of faith. Enter religious studies teacher and Army veteran, Robin Fox, whose job it unwittingly becomes to stop these international attacks and find the person responsible. His task becomes all the more personal when colleague and friend (or more?) Emily Paxton is kidnapped and held as leverage to get Fox to stop interfering in the terrorist’s plans.
It is no wonder Charles Kowalski won RMFW’s Colorado Gold Award for Mind Virus. It is a thoroughly-researched, thoughtful novel regarding the nature of belief, and how what we believe governs how we treat each other, and in turn, how the way we are treated instructs what we come to believe. Don’t let words like “thoroughly-researched” and “thoughtful” fool you – Mind Virus is also well plotted, nicely paced, and packed with action. To wit, Professor Fox survives several attempts on his life, saves the Royal Family from a terrorist attack, and makes it from D.C., to Israel, to London, and back during the Passover and Easter holidays. Not bad for a week’s work.
In Mind Virus, Kowalski skillfully tackles some of the largest issues of our time – namely religion and terrorism and their respective roles in shaping who we are as a global people. And who we are choosing to become as we move forward. He adroitly weaves together Bible verses, deadly nerve agents, and the imminent murder of thousands of innocent people to create a brilliant, riveting read. Hopefully, we will see much more from Charles Kowalski in the years to come.