MalignancyHi! I’m Bug, the gentleman, who controls Sara Almquist’s house. Some would say I’m not a gentleman, but rather a Japanese Chin dog. Details, details.

Sara is an epidemiologist. That’s a big word. As I see it, she’s a professional busybody with the computer skills and the access to medical records to uncover lots of secrets. For example, as she traced the way a deadly flu epidemic spread in Coming Flu, she discovered one of our neighbors in our kind-a-posh neighborhood was a drug czar in nearby Albuquerque. What does posh mean? There are lots of bushes in the stone landscaping, so I have plenty of places to water daily.

One thing that makes Sara a less-than-perfect companion for me is she travels too much. She dropped everything and agreed to consult on public health projects for USAID, (I think that stands for U.S. agency for international development.), in Bolivia in Ignore the Pain. Again, she got distracted from her work. This time she learned too much about the coca trade and almost didn’t get home to me.

Worse still, she came home mooning over a guy named Xave. Why would she want him? She has all my love and attention.

Anyway, in Malignancy, we paid the price for her snooping, someone started shooting at her and even me. Finally, she wised up, and we escaped the shooters in Albuquerque and went to Washington D.C. to work on projects for USAID and the State Department. I even got to meet Xave and her new boss Sanders. The former is as handsome as me, I guess. The latter is as sophisticated as me, but neither understand her as well as I do.

She went off to Cuba with Sanders to set up exchanges between U.S. and Cuban scientists. Seems they interested in learning more about a new drug Cuban researchers patented. I think they claimed the drug was a way to cause the patient’s body to fight more effectively against a certain type of lung cancer. I think this explanation is not the whole truth about her visit to Cuba.

Maybe, you’d like a description of Sara. Here’s how another female of her species described her:

What do Chuy and the other men see in her? She’s not your standard semi-retired professor of epidemiology. She does have guts, but look at her. She has no style. Her pixie haircut accentuates the small sags in her jaw line, her slightly droopy eyelids, and her ten pounds of extra weight.

Don’t let that description fool you. Sara may not look like Lara Croft of Tomb Raider, but she can move quickly (when she has to) and she’s smarter than most of the villains.

I can’t tell you any more about what happened in these thrillers because the author wants you to read the books, not listen to me.

Meet the real Bug: Were you surprised by how well Bug understood Sara’s work? Here’s why. The Bug character bugis based on the real Bug. He visits patients on the pediatrics floors of University of New Mexico Hospital weekly as a pet therapy dog and sits by the author as she writes thrillers.

About Malignancy: Men disguised as police officers shoot at Sara Almquist twice in one day. Albuquerque police suspect Jim Mazzone, a drug czar who has tangled with Sara before, will order more hits on Sara. Thus when colleagues in the State Department invite Sara to arrange scientific exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, she jumps at the chance to get out of town and to see the mysterious Xave Zack, who rescued her in Bolivia. Maybe, she should question their motives.

Bugme5Meet the author: JL Greger sharpened her story-telling skills while lecturing on biochemistry and nutrition at eight-thirty in the morning to bleary-eyed college students at the university of Wisconsin. She quickly learned students were more likely attend class and to retain the “dry” facts if she “humanized” the science with relevant stories. She enjoys writing novels now because the facts are secondary to the story, instead of vice versa.

Her medical mystery/suspense novels: Coming Flu, Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, Ignore the Pain, and Malignancy are available in paperback and on Kindle from JL’s Amazon page. Sara Almquist books published by Oak Tree Press.

She and Bug live in the southwest. Bug is the only non-fictional character, except for several politicians and historical figures, in her novels.

For more, see: website at and her blog, JL Greger’s Bugs, at

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