Infected: A Novel
I just finished reading Infected by Scott Sigler.  Normally, I would have tore through this book.. however it took me much longer.  As Joe said to me as I finished it this morning: "Long read?  What the hell?".  Hahah- shows my normal reading rate.  There are two very simple explanations for my slow reading of this novel- first, it was a bit creepy at times and I had to put it down, for fear of destroying my mind to mush.. second, I lost the book.  Literally- lost it.  We've been remodeling the bathroom and just finished remodeling the porch, so with the mess of those 2 tasks and my classroom book bins scattered about the living room (good 'ol prep for a new school year), I lost my copy and couldn't find it for about a week.  I was seriously pissed... but I couldn't just go out and buy another- I knew it was SOMEWHERE.  Come to find out, Joe put it away one morning on a bookshelf.  I mean really, who puts books on bookshelves?!  Thanks to my very meticulous bookshelf organization (I have 4 shelves and they're color coded for aesthetic reasons and I can honestly point out any book needed), having Infected placed on a different shelf threw me for a loop.  I found it 2 days ago while cleaning up the mess of my classroom books and the bathroom debris... but enough rambling- back to the book...
I must admit, what drew me in first was simply the title Infected and the sequel Contagious sitting next to it.  I've been on a doom & gloom government conspiracy kick lately, so I picked up it thinking it'd fall into that category.  Infected actually falls into horror, but I grew up obsessed with Stephen King so I went for it.  The short description and this review sealed the deal...
"Part Stephen King, part Chuck Palahniuk, Infected blends science fiction and horror into a pulpy masterpiece of action, terror, and suspense. Three recommendations: don't read it at night, or just after you've eaten a full meal, or if you're weak of heart. You've been warned!"
—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Judas Strain and Black Order
I brought the book home and was chomping at the bit to read it, but I was mid-way through The Passage so I had to hold off... then I read a 'girly' book in between to give my mind a break.  Once I dove into Infected, it was like diving into ice cold water head first without warning.
Right from the start, we're introduced to some crazy... the prologue depicts a place and a women who has something terribly wrong inside her.  Soon we begin to hear about triangles.  What the hell?  Triangles that make people go f*cking crazy.  Bat-shit crazy.  The government is monitoring triangles and key phrases like "murder", "kill" and "burn".  But why?  What does the government have to do with a few nut-bags who think they have triangles growing out of their bodies and want to kill?  The story begins to unfold.. there is a threat.  An awful threat to humanity.  People are infected- no one knows what it is or where it comes from- but we do know that it makes people crazy.. and turns them into cold-blooded killers.  Is it possible that a disease has erupted and turned normal healthy adults into killing machines?  Or is this man-made?  Pretty quickly we rule out the natural route... there is no way in hell that these things were produced naturally.  That means it must be a bio weapon.  Some terrorist cell must have very advanced technologies and is creating a weapon capable of destroying all of humanity.
Throughout the novel, we get snippets of hope... a chapter here and there describing what these things are and how they're made.  As I read these chapters, I thought about another force... maybe not a terrorist cell, but maybe something over another kind is making this crazy infection.  These short chapters provided hope (for me) to unravel the truth... but it fell just short of giving me the edge I wanted.  I half-knew what they were and what was going on.
Infected has several main characters and angles to follow... there is Margaret Montoya the CDC specialist called in to figure this shit out and her entourage Amos & Otto.  Clearly the president knows whats up and the CIA has an air-tight bubble around everything happening.  The government is involved and the CDC is hot on the trail.  The big leading man (literally) is 'Scary' Perry Dawsey.  He is infected.  He is an enormous ex-football player who has a temper.  Just the mix the triangles need to get what they want.  Perry is huge.  Perry is strong.  Perry is a perfect host.  If anyone is going to do the deed and snap for these triangles, it has to be him right?  Already pre-disposed to violence, who is going to notice when he snaps and kills?  We follow Perry from day 1 of infection... learning how it grows and what it does to the body.  Not only to the body, but also the head.  I may have mentioned that this makes you go bat-shit crazy... but it does more- the infection talks to the host.  As the infection develops, Perry goes nuts and starts hearing them talk.  Accessing his brain for information, the triangles are speaking to him in his head... giving orders and asking questions.  Will Perry succumb to the wishes of his triangles, or will he fight back? Dew Phillips is the determined Nam-vet that takes us on the inside.  We meet the people infected and the insanity that ensues through Dew's eyes.  Murder, torture, fire and self-mutilation seem to follow each of these infected humans.  Dew is determined to find the cause and bust it open... he will take down whoever is responsible for this... if that is even humanly possible.
What will come of the triangles?  What will come of humanity?  Infected is in your face the whole way.  There is not a single dull moment.  Not for the squeamish, this novel will have your skin crawling.  (While reading I was a bit convinced I had a bruise in the shape of a triangle... it wasn't- I'm not infected, I swear!)  On the edge of my seat, waiting to discover the answer, I read Infected like it was going to save my own life.  I totally loved it.  Creepy, disturbing (Scott Sigler- you're twisted!), thought provoking and dashes of gore made this novel a must read for me.  Joe already started it (I finished at 10 am) and I barely remember to write up a review before I grabbed Contagious and read a chapter already.
So what is to come for me now?  Contagious... the infection is much more dangerous.  It is out there, and it's contagious.
Let Infected get under your skin.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

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