Gathered around a campfire during the early days of summer, a group of friends and I were passing the time exchanging stories and listening to our favorite bits of audio fiction. The night was rather typical for that time of year, complete with mosquitoes and June bugs vying for our attention by constantly trying to get as close as possible to our warm, fleshy bodies. The annoying, buzzing critters were par for the course and while they were irritating at the time I took solace in the fact that I’d go home to a relatively bug- free zone to catch a few hours of sleep before work the following the day.
I hadn’t counted on the fact that each of those mosquito bites and the phantom sensations that the June bugs left upon my skin would haunt me for the rest of the night. When I started to read the book Infected, by best-selling Pod-cast author Scott Sigler, my body had a psychosomatic reaction that left me in a terrified mindset for the rest of the story! I found myself praying that none of the small bites on my body turned into blue triangles. Triangles, after all, are something to be extremely afraid of.
Infected tells the story of Perry Dawsey and the parasites that have taken a hold of his body and are living beneath his skin. It’s the story of the government agents that are trying to get a handle on the outbreak. However, Infected is about much more than those basic plot threads. It’s about paranoia, rage, hopelessness, duty, and above all else the possibility of true horror arriving in a very real world.
Sigler is a master in setting up the plausibility of events. Every detail feels as if it could be happening in the next town over or in the house next door. The “infection”, the triangle-shaped parasitical beings, could be anywhere. They could be in every itch, every scratch, every unforeseen violent crime. Sigler crafts the parasites the way a scientist might describe them. Their anatomy, function, and motives are all described in perfect and disgusting detail. Imagine The Andromeda Strain copulating with Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a pinch of 28 Days Later. That’s only the surface of what Infected has to offer.
As I progressed through the book, scratching at my own flesh just as Perry Dawsey scratched at his, I found myself becoming completely enamored with Scott Sigler’s style of prose. There was never a point where too much information was leaked to the reader too fast. Each character, main and bit players, received elegant treatment. I was also delighted when Sigler utilized the technique of switching character perspectives between chapters that not once did I feel cheated into reading a side of the story that I didn’t want to read. The truth is, I wanted to read everything. Few authors can achieve that throughout a whole novel and the fact that Sigler seemed to do with ease had me in rather giddy state of mind.
Infected is a book for fans of personal horror, realistic horror, or just plain down-and-dirty fun horror. Don’t delay with reading this one, because there’s no telling how much time’s left before the itching starts.