Summary: (From Goodreads)
Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families.
Working under the government’s shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common – they’ve been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.
Meanwhile Perry Dawsey – a hulking former football star now resigned to life as a cubicle-bound desk jockey – awakens one morning to find several mysterious welts growing on his body. Soon Perry finds himself acting and thinking strangely, hearing voices . . . he is infected.
The fate of the human race may well depend on the bloody war Perry must wage with his own body, because the parasites want something from him, something that goes beyond mere murder.
Review: I first picked up this series only because it looked interesting at BEA. While I enjoyed BEA, I was worried I would feel a little out of my element. There are a LOT of YA books available, but not many Science-Fiction and/or Fantasy. This was one I picked up there, although I might not have picked it up otherwise.
Sigler created a captivating story that is actually quite horrific on a psychological level. The pacing was done well, with the suspense actually building up gradually throughout the book. As my wife knows (and now do you) one of my BIGGEST reading turn-offs is when an author goes into too much description for settings and scenery. I don't need a detailed description of a forest for three pages. While Sigler does use accurate descriptions of surroundings, they thankfully were not overly verbose.
Another thing Sigler does an excellent job at is making his characters realistic. They have current real world problems, including having characters deal with raising a gay child they don't necessarily agree with. As an author, that takes courage to include such a polarizing character dealing with these situations. There were times I temporarily forget they are fictional and not real accounts.
One of my only complaints would be that this book starts off with a lot of science terms in describing how the infection starts out. I personally have a background in science and medicine (I am a nuclear pharmacist after all!) and the extra details really made this story stand out and come alive for me. However, if science is not for you, I can see this book being off-putting. The science jargon does come before the story starts to pick up, and it is well worth the effort. Yet, be warned that you will be itching and scratching yourself a lot while reading.
As a side note, I don't often say this: you should absolutely read the afterwords by the author. It is a touching thanks to his parents, and I was really glad I read it.
Rating: 5 stars