Published By: Crown

Book Category: Fiction, Horror

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Reviewed by Mark M. Owen, Ph.D.

Scott Sigler’s Infected is highly contagious. It firmly grabs you in the beginning and tauntingly pulls you through to the end, even though the final chapter points toward a possible enticing sequel. The hardcover version of the book clocks in at just over 300 pages, making it a manageable tale to burn through in a couple of long days, or one that’s lazily absorbed over a vacation week.

The story takes place in Michigan, with several ordinary people going crazy in the beginning. Not just run-of-the-mill caterwauling loony, but off-the-deep-end, kill-your-family-and-friends wacko. A little extraterrestrial seed is behind the madness. It latches onto a person, drills into their body, taps into their DNA and grows, developing into something called the triangles. The lead character is a rough ex-football player who doesn’t like doctors. He tries to tough out the infection on his own, scratching the rash into open sores, and gouging the sores as they turn into sentient beings living inside his body.

The most entertaining aspect of the book is when the triangles begin talking to the host in his mind. Since they’re not of this planet, the little critters struggle with conceptual humanity, calling all threats Columbo, after the TV series detective. They yell when they’re hungry, and tremble when they’re afraid. You almost feel sorry for the buggers, except you can’t forget they are parasites, urging the protagonist through to the ultimate hatching.

The only weakness in the book is minor. A parallel plot involves doctors, medical examiners, and several three-letter government agencies. I found these chapters forgettable. Perhaps if one or more of the doctors became infected themselves, the parallel plot might have had some pull. But make no mistake, it is a minor detraction.

The main plot line is as strong as cold-rolled steel, beating you over the head with colorful, and often gory, depictions that propel the story forward.

I’d highly recommend this book to horror fans that like old-school Stephen King.

Armchair Interviews says: Little extraterrestrial seeds make for a good story.

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