Review: Infected
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Infected by Scott Sigler
Publisher: Hodder Paperback (10 Jul 2008)
ISBN-10: 0340963530
ISBN-13: 978-0340963531

Gritty urban prose, meets science fiction, meets old fashioned horror in a new modern way. A fast paced romp through more blood and gore than I’ve read in ages. Sigler presents a new threat to world peace from a galaxy far, far away that Captain Kirk, The President and CIA agent Dew Phillips, can’t do anything about.

Based around ex-NFL star, Perry Dawsey, we follow the insertion, growth and mutation of microbial invaders from space. They have only one thing in mind, to open a doorway to let millions of their brethren run rampant on Earth.

The book is heavy on profanity and heavier on gore. Apparently slated for the big screen, this will be a big hit with fans of the 1997 film Starship Troopers.

Perry is the wrong man to infect. Abused incessantly by his alcoholic father, he has grown immune to pain. Once thought of as the best line-backer ever to play the game, a knee injury cut his sparkling career short. He was considered the best, because on the field was the perfect arena for him to release his pent up violence, which earned him the moniker of Scary Perry Dawsey. Off field, it was a constant battle for him to hold onto the anger within.

After blowing his knee he scratched out a living as a computer technician, pulling down only a fraction of the salary he would have in the NFL, which does little to help his demeanour. If it wasn’t for his college buddy Billy, he would have ended up in prison years ago.

But now he can’t stop itching, the sores are getting worse, and they’re growing.

An interesting twist on invaders from outer-space that grips the reader and only sometimes lets go. Those who like their reading sprinkled with copious amounts of profanity and bloodlust, from the popping of a zit-like spore that fails to germinate, to the removal of limbs and other appendages, will love this apocalyptic tale.

The biggest two problems I had with it was the dialogue, and a need by the author to occasionally intrude into the story, kiddies.

Dr Margret Montoya will strike a bad chord with many female readers, while her assistant and her CIA bodyguard are extremely cliché, no bout-a-doubt it. At times the dialogue is comedic, although I don’t think it’s always meant that way—which is a bad thing.

The salesmanship that has come with Infected is something to applaud though. Before you go out and buy the book, get online and check out scottsigler.com with all of Scott's other "junkies" - Scott's term for his fans. Scott is giving away the book in podcast form. Personally I like to have a book in my hands when I read but I did listen to the first 30 or so chapters (the chapters aren’t what a reader would consider normally formatted so there’s actually 88 chapters in only 339 pages) in podcast form to try it out. It’s an interesting experiment. Scott has other full novels available in this manner too. If you just can’t find enough time to read that ever growing pile of books next to the bed, listening to it in the car may be the next best thing. I highly suggest trying this if you’re not big on profanity or visceral horror. If you can get through the first few chapters free and haven’t turned away in disgust, then go and buy the book.

Personally, I think this will be better presented with the magic of CGI and some reworking of dialogue by professional script writers. I might then go and see it on half-price Tuesday, if the lawns don’t need mowing.