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Infected - Scott Sigler

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4 Reviews

Genre: Horror / Author: Scott Sigler / Paperback / 450 Pages / Book is published 2008-07-10 by Hodder Paperback

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    4 Reviews
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      22.03.2012 18:03
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      Hopefully the sequel builds on this and moves a bit quicker.

      Have you ever felt guilty giving a book a low rating? I honestly do with this one, after reading the authors acknowledgements at the end of the book ( which in my opinion was the best part). I really liked the man. He seems such a kind, warm and determined person and I just love the way he credits his parents with his success in life. I especially like the way he describes himself as being ADHD, but his mother refused to "drug him into submission". Instead she used books to ground him, and help him focus. In some ways this reminds me of my own son who runs about the room while playing video games, eats dinner in perpetual motion, and is only still and calm with a book in his hands, or beside me as we read a story. He isn't ADHD - at least not in my opinion - I never believed 90% of the boys we had on youth trips with ADHD were really ADHD either - they were just bundles of energy. I know this is not why people will read this book, but if you are struggling with a child with ADHD, I could actually justify the purchase price of this book ( only £2.81 used) just for these last two pages.

      But as to the book itself, I'm afraid I found it very hard to get into, the characters rather flat, and I just felt this book could have been so much more. This book came up on my Amazon recommendations after I bought a couple of zombie books. This is, in no way a zombie book, it's closer to the Day of the Triffids. It has a bit of Misery thrown in too, but I don't want to go into detail on that, as I don't like spoilers at all in adult books.

      The story is about a parasitic plant life that uses humans as hosts. The infection starts with strange triangular rashes, which eventually develop into sentient beings. I usually try to avoid any detail at all that can be seen as a spoiler, but we know from the very beginning these plant creatures will begin to speak as the cover of the book clearly reads "When you hear the voices it's already too late". In addition to this the plants play with all the neurotransmitter in the human brain, controlling their host and driving him or her insane in the process. Most of them seem to just give in to the infection and eventually go mad, murdering anyone near them at the time.

      The main characters in the book are Margaret a CDC doctor who has been drafted into this project by the CIA. She isn't at all a likable character, and seems to be obsessed with her hormones and a desire for young cabana boys, but as they say any port in a storm will do - she doesn't appear picky - or professional. She comes off with lines like "I'm in charge now. I'm not this guy's bitch if anything he's mine" Sigler clearly does not know how to write a female character, but then this is meant to be a man's book I am certain.

      The next character is Dew a tough as nails CIA agent, who has seen action in Vietnam - and one suspects quite a bit on American soil as well. He gets the job done, but I never got any feeling for him as a person. The only attempt to give him any background is a phone call to his daughter and a bit of ranting about her being in lesbian relationship. We get comments on his daughters partner being a "good kid as far as bull dyke lesbians go" and then we get a rambling speech on how he will continue killing for America - the greatest country on earth where even if he hates it - his daughter can be free to live as she chooses. I was getting close to gagging at this point, and it did nothing to add any depth to a character who is very much a cliche.

      Finally we have "Scary Perry Dawsey", again a stereotypical figure. A huge ex footballer damaged by a violent childhood and trouble keeping his temper in check, he is somewhat bitter that all the glory that could have been his was destroyed when his knee was ruined a college football game. He is the most important character in this book, and perhaps a bit unbalanced before all of this starts, but again, I never warmed to him too much. He is just too tough, too bad ___. We get all sorts lines like "play through the pain", "I'm in charge", and some of the things he does are just too over the top. He realises early on that he is dealing with living creatures under his skin. He does manage to kill and remove one early on, so he knows exactly what he is dealing with. A great deal is made of the location of two of these, one on his backside, and one on a most private area, as well as another five on various parts of his body. He isn't big on doctors, but I expect most fellows would be rushing to a doctor as fast as their legs could carry them if they knew something awful was alive and growing there.

      The first 177 pages basically give us a bit of the CIA investigation, and the fact that Perry keeps itching. My sons would find a lot of this amusing as he gets itches in private places. I'm not being a prude, it doesn't offend me, but it does bore me. After 177 pages I was bored to death. Things pick up a wee bit when the plants start speaking to him, but this all seemed like a build up to something more exciting, and when we finally get to a more exciting bit, the book is over.

      I kept waiting for this book to get better, and I do feel it picked up at the end. Another book follows this one, and I keep thinking it might be better. This book does leave you on a bit of cliffhanger, and the main part of the story seems to be build up - but a build up to what? Maybe one has to read the second book to find out. I can't help thinking this whole book would have been so much better if reduced by at least half and then combined with whatever may be in book number 2. This is his first book, and I can't help thinking he may grow into a much more sophisticated writer.

      I have noticed most other readers really enjoyed this book, and perhaps I am just too picky when it comes to reading material. I do think this book was primarily aimed at male audience, and perhaps this is something fellows would enjoy more, but I can't see my husband watching a movie of this ( he doesn't read), or being at all interested in the storyline. There are a few gory bits, but not enough to really keep the blood and gore fans going, there really wasn't any suspense, or any surprises. Everything was quite predictable.

      I'm really sorry I can not give this book a higher rating, but 2 stars is the absolute best I can do. I can't recommend it, but other people have a totally different take on this, so you might find more of interest in this book than I did. It isn't the worst book I have ever read - but it also isn't a book I would ever read again - no matter how desperate. I would try the sequel if I came across one in a boot sale or something, but I'm not willing to risk anything over 50p on it.

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        17.01.2010 14:57
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        One of the best new horrors to be written in recent years!

        I had never heard of Scott Sigler before reading the "Infected" and subsequently did not know what to expect. I bought the book to bring on holiday with me, something to read whilst next to the pool, and unbelieveably I ended up spending hours sat in the bar reading desperately wanting to know what happens next, instead of enjoying an expensive sun filled holiday.
        The story revolves mostly around two main characters, "Perry Dawson" a very large ex-footballer with a fiery temper, and "Dew Phillips" a special agent, a man accustomed to working hush, hush situations.
        Perry Dawson becomes infected with some strange organisms that begin growing in varias places over his body, causing him be become ill at the same time as fuelling his temper towards wanting the strange triangular lumps out of his body. This is something that makes you cringe when you read what he goes through in his campaign to be free of what has infected him and what he goes on to learn more about.
        Dew Phillips on the other hand is at the centre of tracking down various individuals that keep popping up on his radar, strange, crazy people, that would usually be perfectly normal. As time goes on he begins to worryingly realise that things may be worse than they are capable of handling.
        The writer does well to give you a good undertanding of the technical information too, without boring you with it. He throws it in here and there and keeps it short before returning back to suspenseful events that are really well written.
        I found this book perfectly paced, making me not want to put it down. The characters have fantastic dialogues and you can really engage with them. Some elements of the story are very gruesome, but something that you need and goes very well with the story! This is something I recommend!

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        03.07.2009 22:23
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        A good but dissapointing read

        This book has torn me in two. On the one hand I found the majority of the narrative compelling, interesting and enjoyable. However, the ending was such a crushing disappointment that it has tainted my overall reading experience. Like eating a really nice chocolate truffle, only to discover that there's a cockroach, not a hazelnut at the centre.

        The story centres on a man who is infected with an unknown disease which drives people inexplicably mad, causing them to murder and often commit suicide. The illness manifests itself as triangular growths, which it is discovered are actually parasitic plant life. As this is discovered fairly early on don't worry, I've not just ruined the plot. The premise is an exciting one, the narrative nicely paced in a 'race against time' style as we cut between the three characters who are affected by the new disease, an infected person, a police man called in to deal with the bloody aftermath, and a scientist working on identifying the strain.

        So far so good, I found myself easily drawn into the idea, which being a hardcore sceptic I was not sure I would be. However, Sigler has done his research, and manages to present it in a way that is not only interesting but also crucially plausible.

        However, there are elements of the writing style which are grating to say the least. Although, save for the ending I cannot fault the pace and narrative development throughout the novel, the writing is frustrating. Words and phrases are repeated (I counted the same word being used 4 times in as many sentences) and at such an alarming rate that it almost smacks of good old fashioned cut and paste. A few times I found myself fighting the urge to scribble out and rewrite sentences myself; sometimes a perfectly well written paragraph is ruined by a jarring disconcerting ending phrase.

        I really did enjoy the book, but once you reach the end there's a great feeling not so much of anticlimax, as the narrative is developed to it's end point sufficiently, but...of being let down. It goes from being an interesting and innovative concept to pure cliche' in the space of a few pages. Still, I did enjoy it, I just wouldn't read another by the same author.

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        09.09.2008 16:31
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        Infected.

        Infected - Scott Sigler.

        'When you hear the voices it's already too late'.

        I have to say, I find writing book reviews particularly difficult. There is a thin line between enticing someone with enough plot and information to encourage them to read the book for themselves, and too much plot so that they pretty much don't need to read it.

        At just over 450 pages this is not too long, in fact I read it in 4 days, as one of my 'holiday books'.

        The cover was what initially attracted me to the book, and when I turned the book over, the short synopsis and recommendations from other authors persuaded me to purchase. At 3 for two in WH Smiths (or was it Waterstones) I did not need too much persuasion.

        ~~Genre and background~~
        Part sci-fi, part thriller, part conspiracy I guess; well, it has elements of all three in it. Therefore if you like any of these genres it might suit.

        The author apparently is 'the world's most successful podcasting author' and this book was particularly well bought in the USA before being released in UK with a different front cover.

        ~~~Synopsis~~~
        There is some sort of infection (not going to tell you exactly what or how) happening in America, not all over America, and not large scale, but enough to warrant the attention of government agencies.

        The government is mainly interested as in all cases the 'victims' of the infection have gone crazy, killing people in the last throws of the infection and/or causing massive damage by fires.
        The infection has the potential to be quite catastrophic to the nation, even the World and to keep it under wraps requires all the covert skills of the agencies, and to tackle it requires all the equipment and weapons at the Governments disposal.

        The plot follows three main protagonists and brings in several other significant others:

        Perry Dawsey is infected by the 'infection' and we get to see him progress through the book as the infection takes hold. We get to see a quite 'damaged' young man both emotionally and physically go through different stages of this infection and become very, very unwell, both physically and mentally. This character is an interesting guy, ex professional (American) footballer, very strong, very damaged by his childhood, and very angry, which he manages, just.

        Dew Phillips is an undercover CIA/special op's character who has been tasked with finding and 'bringing in' or neutralising any victims of the infection before they do any more harm. Many clichés abound regarding this guy, yet somehow it does not seem to matter, he is deep yet also very shallow and focussed on what he has to do.

        Margaret Montoya is a biologist who is tasked to find out what this infection is; virus, bacteria, chemical warfare, or something altogether different. We do not learn an awful lot about her, but she is significant to the development of the plot.

        ~~~~Flow and style~~~~
        The book actually flows really well, we see an initial story line that is developed, gathers pace, switches between scenarios whilst linking things well and concludes as a big climax, good.
        The author is very descriptive and has a knack of making one visualise the story, even in parts where you really do not want to visualise (you'll see). The book can be quite disturbing and gruesome.

        The author is no classic writer, nor is he particularly fluent in anything other than basic story telling, and for me, that is okay, this book does not pretend to deliver more than it does. It is a fast paced, thriller of a read that one does not have to think about too much, it is easily absorbed, and this is due very much to the style of writing.

        ~~~~~Final thoughts~~~~~
        I really enjoyed this book, it served a purpose as a holiday read, my wife and son have also read it and feel similarly that it is a decent book, in a similar vein (though less complex) as Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

        I have a feeling that we may well see a movie version of this book in the coming years.

        Amazon are selling this for £3.99, I'm sure it can be bought cheaper, worth a go

        Also posted on Ciao, same member name.

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