In "Killing Williamsburg," author Bradley Spinelli imagines a fin-de-twentieth-siècle New York, in which a mysterious epidemic develops, threatening to destroy the entire city. Though set before 9/11, it nevertheless presages those days following the event, when New Yorkers pulled together in a show of solidarity that gave the lie to the stereotype of the unsympathetic New Yorker. Acts of human kindness abounded in those days, as they do in this page-turner, though the form that "kindness" takes may surprise and disturb you. In this compelling tale, Spinelli has crafted a thriller - very nearly a horror story - but one that thankfully plays against type: there are no car chases, no explosions, no bombs defused seconds before detonation - no, the standard tropes do not apply. Instead, we are rewarded with a situation in which there are no easy answers - no miraculous solutions. The central character is not the scientist who has a miraculous cure, he is not a spy, a detective or the ever-popular ex-policeman. And he does not save the world against all odds - and yet, the conclusion is a satisfying one - if not exactly "happy" (Spinelli excels in ambiguity). The secondary characters, also, defy easy categorization and are allowed to be individuals - not merely types. You have to admire a novel that is truly novel - not merely a re-tread of prior stories. I can honestly say that I have never read a book quite like this one. Most horrifying is the fact that every thing in this story - even the mysterious epidemic - could actually happen. And THAT is something to keep you awake at night.