Posted on January 26, 2009 by Flames
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Scott Sigler’s book entitled Infected was my favorite read in 2008. Written as the first book in this series, Infected‘s sci-fi/horror mood was set by a few inventive elements. Infected explored the now infamous blue triangles (and their hatching) with the claustrophobic devolution of Perry Dawsey’s (the main character’s) mental state. The book was an absolutely thrilling work, and left me quite excited for Contagious, the next story in Sigler’s current trilogy. The third book entitled Pandemic is the last work in this trilogy.
Picking up just several weeks where Infected left off, Dawsey has been patched up by Doctor Montoya, but is left in a damaged mental state. Dawsey’s state of being is due to the psychologically-scarring events of Infected, as well as to the remaining mental “connection” he shares with the otherworldly triangles. In Contagious, Sigler stretches the story out to cover a much wider set of events, as well as a broader range of locales, which expands the mythology of the blue triangles and the strain’s evolution to a contagious organism.
Infected worked very well because it focused on Dawey’s “close-quarters” fight to conquer his infection. Contagious, on the other hand, expands the story’s scope greatly to the point where Dawsey actS as only one of many major characters in the story. Much like the change between the movies Alien and Aliens, the shift in narrative between Infected and Contagious is quite pronounced. Most of Infected’s story took place in one room, a technique that reminded me of Hitchcock’s Rope. Readers that enjoyed that technique may be left slightly dismayed by the huge scope and broad-sweeping action of Contagious.
While at times the huge amount of primary, secondary and tertiary characters can be overwhelming, Sigler has built a very convincing version of our world, specifically Michigan. He’s also done another great job and refusing to give anyone a pass due to age, gender, etc. Those readers who cringe at the thought of violence against children – even demonically-possessed ones, may feel uncomfortable by Sigler’s character treatment. Another side effect to adding so many characters, is that the further down the line you go–the more cardboard the characters seem. Yet, the large action set pieces seem quite believable. My only moment of disbelief occurred when I was reading more about one of the primary characters, Chelsea. She seemed to be quite mentally underdeveloped for her age.
In all, Sigler’s Contagious does a fine job picking up where Infected left off, although it absolutely acts as the second piece in a trilogy. Those looking to delve into the Infected trilogy should really start at the beginning. Contagious works well enough on its own, but due to the high action it has much less of a focus on character-building than the first book. Starting out with Infected will not only help build that emotional base, but give a much greater understanding of the evil that is attacking in this story at the outset.
Based on my thoughts here, I give Contagious, written by Scott Sigler, a 4 out of 5 star rating.
Review by William Aicher.