Sounds really intriguing doesn't it. A microbe that cuts off the world's oil supply and plunges everything into a dark age. A fascinating premise no doubt about it. BLACK MONDAY has, as it's central hero, Dr Gregory Gillette, an epidemiologist with the Centres for Disease Control. He is a disease hunter, a plague specialist if you like - used to going into the centre of epidemics and finding the cause. Initially the Pentagon ask him to be part of the Rapid Response Team assembled to track and kill the devastating Delta-3 bacteria, but he quickly discovers that his expertise is being ignored and he must go it alone if he's to find the cause and stop this different sort of a plague. Not only is the leader of the task force against him, there are other threats lurking.
Possibly you're going to need to be a fan of blockbuster movie style books, maybe you're going to have to like the idea of one man against uncaring / unthinking / incompetent authorities scenarios. You're definitely going to have to accept a couple of extra, more individual threats thrown in as well as some convenient fear factors to like BLACK MONDAY, but if you do like that style of movie - in particular - then BLACK MONDAY could be the book for you.
There's absolutely no doubt that the good guys will win. There's no doubt that there is a lurking threat - very human threat behind the microbe. There's a sudden, dramatic and frenetic breakdown of society (except for the little pocket that our hero lives in) as the panic sets in when oil supplies run out. There's also some uncontaminated supplies of oil, incidentally, so those people that need to move around (for the sake of the plot) can move around.
And perhaps that's also what didn't work about BLACK MONDAY. It reads like a film script wrapped up as a book. There's little actual character development - mostly the book relies on "action". Whilst this can work in book format as well, it was slightly off the mark in this book as most of the action was predicated by things that just didn't make sense. The authorities responses were too inexplicable; the reasons behind the shadowy assassin's actions too unclear; the threat from the local "gangster" too cartoonish.
I confess BLACK MONDAY didn't work for me because of the overt and mostly unexplained lurking threatening presences; the one man against the authorities scenario with insufficient good reasons for that having to happen; and all the pointless rushing around and waving of guns as plot points. Of course, you can see why this has been movie optioned so quickly and readers will undoubtedly have some fun picking out a casting line up.