Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sick by Tom Leveen

So, the thing you need to know about this book is that it's not a zombie book.  The characters that are infected are not dead/undead.  They're sick.  So, depending on your breed of zombie-aversion, you might want to give this a chance.  This review is based off of both the print version and the audio version as I switched back and forth several times using my Kindle and Audible apps via the Whispersync capability of which, but the way, I'm a TOTAL fan.

It's set in Phoenix.  At a fenced-in high school.  And the main character, Brian, has a sister named Kenzie, and a mom who is a doctor and works for the health department.  Weird things start happening to kids at school, and pretty soon, the stage crew for the drama department (including Brian) have barricaded themselves inside the innards of the auditorium to keep away from the sick kids who are eating people.

The story takes place over the course of less than 24-hours.  It's almost real-time.  As always with Tom Leveen, the dialogue is genius.  This may also very well be the most raunchy of all of the dialogues he's ever written too.  That's actually why it took me so long to finish the book... not because it was bad or I wasn't interested... but because it made me want to google things that are for sure NSFW* and for sure not appropriate around my toddler.  It's colorful, to say the least.

But, if you aren't turned-off by color, you're in for a treat.  SICK is probably Leveen's best plot arc yet, but it adds in the character motivation and depth that you find in ZERO.  You get to know these characters.  And when you lose one, you feel it.  You get that pang in your heart, you feel the adrenaline running in your veins, even though you're perfectly safe inside your home.

The thing I liked best about SICK was that you knew what was causing the sickness.  You knew what characteristics the disease had, the symptoms, and what you could and couldn't do to slow it down.  You got a feel for what it would be like to have to creatively solve your problems just to stay alive, amongst a zillion temptations that would likely end in your infection.  And the other thing I like is that even the characters you get attached to fall.  Loads of suspense, loads of action, I wish so hard someone would pick this up and make a TV series with it.  It'd be fascinating and new and twisty and just plain awesome.  Give it a try, whydontcha?  (Tom narrates the audiobook himself, which is such a treat, because you know exactly how it was supposed to be read and exactly the inflections that were supposed to be accentuated.)

Parents:  Language.  Strong language, bordering on crude (think high school dudes... it's legit).  Allusions to sex, sex drive, etc, but nothing graphic.  Lots of blood and gore and violence.  Not for the weak-stomached!

NSFW = not safe for work