Cover image for The devil's workshop : a novel
The devil's workshop : a novel
Cannell, Stephen J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 421 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Elma Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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Stacy Richardson is a feisty microbiology graduate student at the University of Southern California. In the middle of her final exams, she receives tragic news that her husband, who is also head of the microbiology department, has committed suicide while on sabbatical at a super-secret bio-weapons program in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Known by insiders as "The Devil's Workshop," the program is run by the fierce Admiral James G. Zoll.

Meanwhile, hobos Lucky Cunningham and Hollywood Mike are passing through Vanishing Lake, Texas, where, unbeknownst to them, Admiral Zoll is using the nearby prison as a testing ground for the latest bio-weapons capable of targeting specific ethnic groups from the inside--through the victim's DNA.

As a bio-accident turns Vanishing Lake into a living hell and threatens to land the bio-weapons into the hands of a band of white supremacists, The Devil's Workshop unfolds via a uniquely entertaining narrative triumvirate: Stacy, Lucky, and Hollywood Mike's tinseltown mogul father, Buddy Brazil.

Combining classic elements of science gone awry with a cast of characters that firmly fuses America's dust bowl past with its sensational present, The Devil's Workshop is a thrilling race against a racially charged doomsday.

Author Notes

Stephen J. Cannell was born in Los Angeles, California on February 5, 1941. He was dyslexic and struggled through school. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he drove a truck for his father's home-decorating business and wrote TV scripts at night and on the weekends. His first writing successes were story ideas sold to Mission Impossible. Four years later, he sold a script for It Takes a Thief. In 1966 a script he submitted for Adam 12 so impressed the producers at Universal that they offered him the position of head writer. At Universal he wrote and helped create several TV shows including The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

He started his own production company in 1979, generating The A-Team, Riptide, Hunter, and 21 Jump Street. Other credits include Wiseguy, Renegade, and Silk Stalkings. He has scripted over 1,500 TV episodes and created or co-created over 40 programs.

His first novel, The Plan, was published in 1995. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 15 novels including Final Victim, King Con, and the Shane Scully series. He died of complications associated with melanoma on September 30, 2010 at the age of 69.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Stacy, an incredibly beautiful scientist who is finishing up her doctorate in biochemistry, has her world turned upside down when she learns that her new husband has committed suicide. Not believing that he killed himself, she travels to the installation where he was working on a secret biological weapons program; she discovers that the government's story of what happened is a lie. In the process of her investigation, she makes an enemy of the head of the project, Admiral Zoll, who pulls some strings at the university where she is studying and prevents her graduation. Stacy swears to get to the bottom of her husband's death and reveal the dangerous experimentation that has been going on at the lab, which is known as the Devil's Workshop. Meanwhile Zoll and his chief scientist are conducting human experiments with their latest weapon: a fast-acting variation of mad cow disease that is targeted at specific ethnic groups. The scientist is abducted by a group of white supremacists who plan on ridding the world of all non-Caucasians. Stacy forms an alliance with Lucky Cunningham, a hobo who has witnessed a town being "cleansed" after an accidental exposure to the weapon, and Buddy Brazil, a coke-snorting Hollywood mogul whose son was exposed to the disease; together, they attempt to prevent a holocaust by the white supremacists. Cannell, who seems to write books with the intent of converting them into screenplays, is considerably more successful at developing a dramatic story line. The narrative flow here is less stilted than such earlier attempts as King Con (1997). Although the comic book^-like plot has its share of flaws, those flaws will be overlooked by the majority of readers, who will enjoy the fast-paced adventure. --Eric Robbins

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Emmy Award-winning TV writer/producer of The Rockford Files and The Commish strikes again (after Riding the Snake) with this quirky new action-driven nail-biter, which imagines the havoc unleashed by doomsday bioweapons. Doctoral candidate Stacy Richardson is called out of her oral finals to be told that her husband, the brilliant microbiology department chairman at USC, has killed himself while on sabbatical at a hush-hush Pentagon-funded bioweapons research center just outside Washington. Devastated, she flies east to accuse the military hierarchy of murdering her husband in an attempt to cover up a covert research project involving deadly Pale Horse Prion, a bioweapon that can be genetically engineered to kill specific ethnic groups. Back home in L.A., her husband's final e-mail reveals that the military is planning a test at a deserted prison town in Texas. Traveling incognito, Stacy arrives just in time to witness the catastrophic destruction of the quiet town as the military desperately tries to eliminate the mosquitoes carrying the deadly Prion. In the wake of the disaster, Fannon Kincaid, a zealot hobo preacher intent on fulfilling the Armageddon prophesy of Revelations, kidnaps renegade scientist Dexter DeMille, who has the Prion. In her effort to save the world, Stacy hooks up with Cris Cunningham, a former Desert Storm hero, and Buddy Brazil, the movie mogul dad of one of Prion's victims. Unfolding as a cross-country train chase in and out of hobo jungles, the shoot-'em-up finale comes thundering down in the railroad yards in Washington. Unfortunately, the schmaltzy fade to black is excessive and lacking in taste. Typically, Cannell is strong on action and plot, and weak on feelings, sensitivity and depth of character. Agents, Eric Simonoff and Mort Janklow. Major ad/promo, 12-city author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"The devil's workshop" is the bioweapons program in Fort Dietrick, MD, where Stacy Richardson's microbiologist husband has just committed suicide. Poor Stacy is about to find out, with the help of two hapless tramps in the vicinity, that the program's director has been using inmates at a nearby prison to test new bioweapons capable of targeting certain ethnic groupsÄwith horrifying results. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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