Mother Nature: the world’s most innovative killer.
Deep in the jungles of Venezuela, mycologist Dr. Julia Fatheringham is engrossed in her study of native fungi. But what begins as a standard research trip quickly spirals into chaos when her associate’s erratic behavior results in his horrifying death. Soon, Julia makes a startling discovery: her partner was contaminated by an organism found only in insects. It alters the victim’s mind in alarming ways, with an invariably deadly outcome. Julia is baffled by her discovery—this organism has never appeared in humans. It shouldn’t be possible. There is only one terrifying conclusion: The infection has jumped species.
Now, in this remote corner of the world, a contagion of unparalleled horror rests in Julia’s hands. But even as she works to contain the organism that could spell devastation of apocalyptic proportions, there are others with a different agenda. They’ve learned of her discovery and will go to any lengths to acquire a sample—there is good money to be had in eco-terrorism.
Armed only with her strength of mind and what courage she can gather, Julia prepares to battle the devastating scourge—and the terrorists determined to unleash it on humanity. – Goodreads
The cordyceps fungus (which pretty much everyone is familiar with as the ‘zombie fungus’) makes the leap from insect to human transmission. The book opens with a researcher becoming a fungoid ant-man, and goes nuts from there. Surprisingly, Infected resists the urge to turn into a zombie novel. So that was a nice surprise.
Infected attempts to be a ridiculous syfy b-movie book. It featured stereotypical characters, overdone dialogue, and a cheesy plot. There’s the evil villain with obvious mental problems seeking to destroy the world. The ridiculously dumb money-grubbing rich girl who thinks her looks and her talents will get her everything. A beautiful and brave heroine, etc. The Australian can’t seem to begin to speak without saying Crikey, blimey, or something like that. Same thing with the Spanish-speaking people chiming in with their carambas and whatnot.
Now, I completely agree this would make an awesome sci-fi/action b-movie. It really would. On the screen this would be one where you’d happily indulge in groans, giggles, eye-rolls and shouting at the screen. The ridiculousness of the whole thing would leave the nerd inside of you sighing in satisfaction. I’m sure the special effects would be appropriately horrible, and there’d probably be smoochies at the end.
Unfortunately, as a book, Infected falls a little flat. I definitely enjoyed the beginning, but towards the middle I was hoping the author would rein it in a bit. There’s a balance that needs maintained, especially in this type of book, to keep it campy but still intriguing. Infected lost the thread early on, and never really managed to pick it back up again.
Overall, though, it was still a decent read. I liked the fact that the author could have turned this into just another zombie novel and didn’t. It’s got a great fast pace to it. It never required you to think very hard. (Though I will admit I ended up googling something at the end just to see if it actually made sense.) Basically, it was a happily mindless read that would be a great airplane read.
Infected is available on Amazon.