Craig DiLouie does zombies and the apocalypse very well. His descriptions are so vivid and his characters so true-to-life that I’m starting to wonder if he’s actually a time-traveller from a broken future where mutated and violent monsters stalk the land.
The Infection starts off with a pretty standard trope of the Zombie genre: a virus that sweeps the world. This particular virus knocks some 20% of people into a coma and then three days later they awaken violent and hell-bent on spreading the virus to others.
Chomp, bite, scratch!
Meet our survivors
Yes, they are archetypes of a sort but they are far more alive and deep than their simple descriptions suggest. We have Sarge, a military man driving a Bradley fighting vehicle (think Tank that kicks ass) and Anne, a hard woman carrying some deep trauma. They are the defacto leaders of the group who work to keep them all alive. We also have Wendy, a police officer, Ethan, a math teacher, Todd, a geek highschooler, and Paul, a minister.
Yes, a minster.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Someone is going to mention something about a “ragtag bunch of survivors” who maybe work together and it’s all so cliché you want to kill someone.
Ah, genre transcendence…
DiLouie’s characters have been through some serious shit and throughout the book we get a taste of their lives before the virus hit. The transformation from housewife to hunter is shocking and brilliantly written. There are no sudden experts here. No civilians who pick up a gun and then two pages later are shouting lock and load like soldiers.
The survivors are doing just that – surviving, and barely. Each are carrying their terrifying memories and crushing guilt. Each has a dark story behind them.
Meet our monsters
Whether this book fits into the zombie genre or alien genre or something else entirely rises up when we discover the infected humans aren’t the only beasties out there. Hideous giant worms slide through the streets devouring corpses. Gigantic monsters who pluck humans up and eat them smash their way into buildings.
And wait until you meet the monkeys and Towering Things.
Plague or virus, there is something deeper than a onslaught of zombies to deal with. Strange creatures with their own purposes pursue the survivors and as they travel through Pittsburgh and onwards they discover the world is changing.
To rest, to rest, just let me goddamn rest
We follow our survivors first to an abandoned hospital and then to a camp straining under the influx of refugees. The pace! There is no real slowdown in this book. It really is a page-turner and all respite for the survivors is temporary at best. It really is one of those books that you want to read in one sitting because at no point is everything okay enough for you to take a break. Monsters are coming! The civilians are rioting! What the hell is that thing sliding past!
Why you should read The Infection
It is simply one of the best toppling of society stories you’ll ever read. It’s a cross-genre masterpiece that doesn’t let go. It’s a zombie horror. It’s an alien thriller. It’s a stark examination of humans under too much pressure.
How I got The Infection
With my transition to Kindle this section is going to have to go pretty soon I think. eBooks baby! One-click instant download. I also high recommend his other zombie title Tooth and Nail which is six kinds of awesome and will be reviewed at a later date.
slow and steady wins the race but fast looks way cooler