Monday, September 1, 2008

“Infected” by Scott Sigler

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families.

Working under the government’s shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common – they’ve been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.

Meanwhile Perry Dawsey – a hulking former football star now resigned to life as a cubicle-bound desk jockey – awakens one morning to find several mysterious welts growing on his body. Soon Perry finds himself acting and thinking strangely, hearing voices . . . he is infected.

The fate of the human race may well depend on the bloody war Perry must wage with his own body, because the parasites want something from him, something that goes beyond mere murder.
It is good to see that the alien invasion story is alive and well in the 21st century as represented by Scott Sigel’s debut novel Infected. Such stories have been perennial favourites spawning movies from literary scifi works such War of Worlds, Day of the Triffids, The Body Snatchers, Who Goes There?, The Puppet Masters and The Space Vampires to name just a few.

Sigel offers up alternating character POVs for the CIA operative chasing down the infection, the CDC scientist investigating it and one of the victims of the parasite. An abundance of scientific speculation is provided on the source of the infection and military protocol seems detailed and realistic.

The most riveting sequences are those with Perry Dawsey as he battles both his past and the critters that have invaded his body. Bloody, violent and horrific at turns, the scenes are highly visual and visceral. Strangely enough there are no unusual or unexpected plot twists. You know the parasites are aliens and they are up to no good almost from the start. Sigler keeps the action moving though and the driving force for me when reading this was getting to the end to discover their purpose and whether the earthlings triumph.

The ending is a bit anticlimactic, over too quickly and resolved too easily in my opinion, but consistent with the alien invasion art form. If you have been jonesing for an invasion from space then pick up Infected, a well crafted sample of this timeless subject.

Read an excerpt here.

Just so that you can appreciate the endurance of the alien invasion theme, check out this trailer for the appropriately named 1953 movie It Came from Outer Space (apparently based on a Ray Bradbury story). Except for the references to 3D, thematically it could be a promo for Infected.



And view the book trailer…



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