Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Infection and Escaping a Burning Pittsburgh: A Book Review

*A review copy of this book was generously provided by Permuted Press.

Author: Craig DiLouie.

The Infection is author Craig DiLouie's latest novel and this title takes place in a plague ruined Pittsburgh. This title releases in paperback February 22nd and unlike Dilouie's action fueled Tooth and Nail, this novel creates deeper characterizations through flashbacks. There is action; however, this novel seems to be setting the foundation for a sequel. Full of tension, interesting survivors and a hopeful conclusion, The Infection will hold onto you until the final pages tease with a further thrilling story.

Sarge, Todd, Paul, Wendy, Anne, Ethan, and Steve battle across the outskirts of a battlefield, which was previously the city of Pittsburgh. Here, the military fight a desperate final battle with the screamers, who have risen from a comatose state. Those who are infected cannot initially be categorized from those uninfected. However, this quickly changes as these civilian and military survivors fight off legions of grotesque monsters, a result of the plague.

Author Dilouie offers the reader flashbacks of the characters, to show how each of the survivors found themselves with the group. Paul is a preacher who had to fight his way out of a congregation, Todd left high school and his family to be with them, while Sarge returned from Afghanistan to fight in America. Others have heart-wrenching stories, which will help readers identify with this struggling band. The focus on characterizations is what makes this title gripping.

Even through the flashbacks there is action, as members of this squad reminisce of a past with their loved ones. Anne lost three children and a husband to an infected neighbour. Her individual story involves fighting deformed hoppers in the bush, who threaten her and her crew. They remind her, briefly, of all that she has lost. Yet, the story is ever moving onward, as Pittsburgh burns, bringing out the freaks at night.

There is a climactic and satisfying battle at the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, which brings all of the characters together again. Here, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle lays waste to the malformed horrors of infection. The battle is tense and thrilling, while the conclusion opens up the possibility of a further story in this dangerous world. If there is a second story, the fight will be taken to those remaining infected: "the fight is not over. It is only getting started." (DiLouie, 279).

The Infection is an excellent novel, but keep in mind that this story is setting up a further, wider arc. There is lots of action here to keep horror readers enthralled. However, the focus is not on the action. DiLouie is giving readers insight into a likely further novel or trilogy. Pick this one up, from Permuted Press and step into a survivalist world, where law no longer exists. This is a story that puts you against the infection, while you root for those fighting therein.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (the flashbacks tend to break up the flow of the story, but this is necessary to build the characters).

More on the plot of The Infection is available at the Permuted Press:

The Infection at the Permuted Press

This book's homepage is listed here:

The Infection at the Infected Nation Website

A book trailer for The Infection is here:

This Thrilling title is definitely worth a read:

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