Investigating Biotron Laboratory in Appleton, Macklin discovers that there has apparently been some kind of mixup. Helicopter pilots were supposed to spray crops with an experimental pesticide, but the canister they used contained instead a Bioweapon (intended for use against the Soviet Union) consisting of wormlike parasites that devour their victims' brains and turn them into homicidal maniacs. But was it really an accident that the pilots grabbed the wrong canister? Despite being pressured by his editor at the Herald to kill the story, Macklin is determined to get to the bottom of things before it's too late.
Tropes used in this novel:
- Bar Brawl: As a result of the infected Stransky going full-blown spree killer while having a brewskie after work.
- Bioweapon: The parasites are a Synthetic Plague version of this, intended for use against the Russians as a Depopulation Bomb.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: One of the infected people turned into a killer is a woman who kills the groom at her own wedding.
- Body Horror: In addition to driving their victims insane, the parasites also cause them to break out in hideous boils and pustules all over their bodies.
- Brain Food: As the title implies, the parasites (at least partially) consume the brains of the people they infect.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The overall demeanor of the infected people, courtesy of the Puppeteer Parasites in their brains.
- Cold War: Provides a backdrop for the story.
- Destination Defenestration: The woman who murders her husband at their wedding does a Super Window Jump to her death.
- Gone Horribly Right: The experimental parasites do exactly what they're intended (and then some!), they just got released in the wrong country.
- Herr Doktor: Dr. Kitzmiller, a German scientist who doesn't like Russians because of what the Soviets did to postwar Germany.
- Intrepid Reporter: Milwaukee Herald reporter Corey Macklin.
- Mega-Corp: Biotron.
- The Plague: Although they're brain parasites, the worms behave pretty much like this.
- Puppeteer Parasite: The worms drive people to commit murder and even kill themselves.
- Widowed at the Wedding: And the bride widows herself!