Monday, December 8, 2008


I always knew if the world was going to be destroyed, it would all start in Ann Arbor, Michigan.*

Scott Sigler’s first published novel, Infected, is a horror novel with a bit of techno-thriller thrown in. In and around Ann Arbor, people are suddenly wigging out and going on a killing spree. The government has discovered that a strange sort of infection is responsible for this behavior, although they know little about it other than the victims/killers rave about “triangles” and their bodies undergo remarkably fast decomposition after their deaths. The authorities have kept this from the public, and only a small team is working on the problem, headed by Margaret Montoya, a doctor with the Center for Disease Control, and Dew Phillips, a CIA agent with a violent past.

In Ann Arbor, a former star linebacker for the University of Michigan, “Scary” Perry Dawsey, is the latest to be infected by what we soon learn are alien spores. What starts as a number of itchy spots soon grows into blue triangles, as alien organisms incubate inside him - and begin to communicate with him and try to control him. This is only the first step in an alien plan that will lead to the destruction of the human race.

Through the book, we flip back and forth between the investigating team and Perry’s solo struggle against the small invaders. It’s an interesting mixture, as the broader part of the book reads like a traditional race-against-time thriller, while Perry’s more intimate tale is reminiscent of some of Stephen King’s early short stories.

I found the book to be very entertaining. If there is a weakness to the book, it would be the imbalance between the two parallel storylines, as the portion with the team is somewhat less compelling than Perry’s problems. Still, it was a lot of fun, with a good amount of dark humor (the last of the aliens Perry has to deal with is growing in his scrotum, at once funny and extremely uncomfortable for a male reader). The book was originally a series of podcasts, still available for free at A sequel, Contagious, will be out at the end of the month, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes.

*Obligatory anti-University of Michigan remark.

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