My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I don’t generally read horror/thriller stories, this being another attempt to read “outside my comfort zone,” so it’s possible my poor reception of this book was due, at least in part, to the fact that I was so far outside the target audience.
I was thoroughly drawn into the story by the prologue, which was well-written, engaging, and self-contained. Then the book launched into a series of chapters that jumped around a lot, introducing a bunch of characters, many of whom aren’t actually characters at all and never show up again.
I wasn’t able to really connect with anyone in this book. Of the three “main” characters, the two men were an ex-soldier turned black-ops fixer for the deputy director of the CIA, and an ex-linebacker whose spectacular career got cut short by a blown knee. Both were emotionalny stunted, concerned predominantly by a need not to show weakness, never cry, and generally prove themself to be the biggest badass in any given situation. These characters were pretty much interchangable, but on oposite sides of the plot.
The sole female lead, and the only woman not depicted as a target for abuse, came across as emotionally insecure and unable to function without constant support from the men around her who came up with ideas for her to agree or disagree with and gave her the kick in the pants she needed whenever she had to say anything to someone outside their little group.
None of the characters seemed particularly sharp, even the scientists, though the science jargon was well done and added to the believably. Perry, despite being a tech guy, never thinks to use his computer, either for research or to seek help, until it is way too late.
Where Sigler really seemed to excel was in his descriptions. Settings and moods were depicted in vivid detail to set the stage for the story.
On the other end of the spectrum was the dialogue. the exchanges often felt forced and a little too “on the nose,” explaining things unnecessarily for the reader. There were also several attempts at witty banter that felt wooden and fell flat.
I expected the story, listed as horror/thriller on the back cover, to keep me in page-turning suspense, but while the general premise was interesting, there was so much exposition and unnecessary recapping that it just didn’t hold my attention. That said, the short chapters made it feel faster. Perry’s chapters were pretty intense and engaging, as he had the most going on. Dew, Margaret, and the random character chapters often felt redundant or superfluous.
The narration was done in a distant third omniscient voice, and I think that distance detracted from the sense of immediacy I was looking for to keep me engaged. The tenses slipped around, but were most often in past except when talking about the process of the infection.
There were a couple distracting inconsistencies, such as Perry tripping spectacularly on the pants around his ankles to knock himself unconscious when, a page before, he had kicked them into a corner after taking them off.
The ending is left open, I assume to set up for a sequel. In general, I’d say this book was okay, but not my cup of tea.
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