I received a copy from Netgalley.
It’s been a while since I read a really good horror novel, and this one caught my attention whilst browsing through Netgalley. Viruses that wipe out the world stories kind of leave me apprehensive in that it will either wind up focusing on zombies or be far too like Stephen King’s The Stand. This book stood out on its own merit.
I think what was so great about this one was that the main character, David, was just an ordinary guy. He wasn’t trying to save the world or find a cure or save his town. His wife had died under mysterious circumstances, and government doctors looking for a cure for the virus were supposedly involved. His main concern is to save his daughter.
David is a likeable guy because he’s a normal guy. A regular family man who works as an English professor with a wife and a smart small child. As the novel progresses and you learn the circumstances of how the virus stared told in flashback chapters, and the where David is now – on the run from the government, trying to debate how much to confess to his daughter. The daughter Ellie, appears to be quite apathetic about the whole thing. She appears to be very quiet and very intelligent. At eight nearly nine she’s very well spoken, very well behaved and seems remarkably mature as things go from bad to worse as she and her dad try to find somewhere to hide. David has a brother, Tim, who lives “off the grid” who comes in to help at some point.
The tension is well written, the scenes are pretty damn creepy as David and Ellie go from town to town meeting a variety of scary people and towns all virus effected. Ellie starts to exhibit strange powers and there’s hints that her mother knew and possibly could have had them too only the government got to the mom first. The flashback chapters tell how everything started – and it’s completely believable which makes it even more tense and uncomfortable in parts.
As it goes on, it’s completely unpredictable as well. And as a reader I found myself really caring about David and Ellie and hoping they made it out okay. You get a sort of sense of how on earth is this going to wind up comfortably for everyone? But it’s a realistic horror novel. A happy ending isn’t necessary. The end was again well done and believable in keeping with the tone of the novel. It didn’t go down in a rush of stupid action. It built up to a dramatic conclusion left very open ended.
(It actually made me sniffle a bit).
I would really like to see a sequel following on from this one. Definitely an author I would read again.
Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for approving my request to view the title.