Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Infectious and Contagious Book Review

Lee and I spent yesterday afternoon clearing even more brush out of the same gully. You really don't need any pictures. The more we cleared the more we uncovered, but we got tired and quit "to fight another day" or however the quote goes. I do have a Bartlett's Quotations, but it is in another room...a cold room... so this will have to do. I will post some pictures when we get the whole thing cleared. Just to see what there is. We found a bunch more barrels and some tires and who knows what's under that?

It has been warm and the snow is melting fast which makes the ground muddy and slippery and we all got covered, including RJ. He had to have a half bath. I washed his feet and underneath so that he could come in the house!

I don't usually write book reviews on this blog, but I read such a great book I wanted to write about it. I see a lot of books come across my desk. Frequently one catches my eye and I read the back to see if I should take it home or shelve it. When Rena catches me at it, she says, "You can't read every book that you check in!" And I reply, "Why not?" Running gag.

This one particular book stopped me because of one of the quotes on the back from the reviewer,, "...continues the work that Robert A. Heinlein left undone..." When I was 13 my parents took me and all of the kids still living at home to the Kingdom of Tonga, in the South Pacific for my father's sabbatical. We would be gone for a year and had to be able to carry a suitcase and one carry-on. We are a family of readers, so I knew I had to have a few books, along with whatever clothes I would need for A YEAR! The good thing was that it would be warm and bathing suits and shorts and T-shirts would suffice for the most part. (Once we got to Tonga we realized I had to have a skirt for school and a vala for going in to town, but that is a whole different subject.)

The dilemma was, which books do I take? Obviously books are heavier than clothes and I needed to take a toothbrush and other items of personal grooming, so I had to pick and choose wisely. I took four books and carried them the whole year. My favorite was The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein. I read and re-read that book so many times I almost became the book as in Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. (What do you mean you never read that! Well, hurry up and read it and then come back.)

So when referenced Robert Heinlein and I read the review, I knew what they were talking about and had to read Contagious by Scott Sigler. A short few chapters in I realized that this was a sequel to his first book in the series, Infectious. I hate that! I like to get the first one and go all the way through without taking a breath! If I know a book is a sequel I go to and find all the books in order and start at the beginning. It was too late now. The book took off on a tear and never let up. As soon as I go to work the next morning I ordered the first in the series and then I read it out of sequence.

Both Contagious and Infected were good stand alone books, but because I had read them out of order I knew what had happened to the characters later on and this made Infected not as good as Contagious for me. You have to read them in order.

The premise of the two books is that there is an infectious agent that has a cluster in and near Michigan. The people infected have a bite or series of bites that itch outrageously. The bites rapidly become bigger and the bigger they get the more paranoid and delusional the victims become. If graphic violence and gruesome autopsy details turn your stomach then these books are not for you. Even though I have read a lot of books these scenes are very intense and I wanted to put the book down for a bit. But then I couldn't and I had to dive back in. The books are not short, but you can't put them down long enough to catch your breath, so start on a weekend!

The violence escalates to the point that the CDC, Homeland Security, the CIA and even the president are involved. Because they don't know if this is a manufactured agent from terrorists or even something from outer space they strive to keep this contagion secret from the public even though various characters want to scream it out so everyone will go to the hospital as soon as the symptoms occur. But if everyone with an itchy bite or rash goes to the hospital and shot anyone coming close to them with a red spot chaos would reign!

Each book covers only a few days so the pace is fast and furious. They have to figure out what it is, where it is coming from and stop it before the whole area erupts into violence all while keeping the secrecy from the local police and the press. They end up blaming SARS and the flesh eating bacteria to explain the HazMat suits at the crime scenes that they take away from the local officials.

I went on Amazon to see if there was a book number 3 out there. He has a new book, but on a different subject. The end of Contagious left it wide open for another book and I hope Mr. Sigler writes one.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I'm so glad you liked the books, and really sorry you read them out-of-order. It's a debate I have with the publisher -- they want stand-alone books, it's clearly a series, they print the books, they win the argument. Yes, there is a third book, called PANDEMIC, which should be out Spring of 2013. Now get back into that gully: that brush ain't gonna clear itself.