Author: Wayne Simmons
Page count: 364pp
Release date: 1st Feb 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Eagerly awaited, Fever is the sequel to Simmons’ successful zombie thriller Flu. The novel starts before the outbreak narrated in Flu, as we meet Lab Worker Ellis, who works in the animal testing section of a secret laboratory injecting something called sample A into the helpless animals, watching as they die. But not all of them do die, and Ellis wonders exactly what happens to those animals which survive and then disappear.
In the same lab, Blake Farrow, Ellis’ married lover, has been experimenting on people. Farrow is able to keep his shenanigans quiet until one of his experiments comes back from the dead; then all hell literally breaks loose at the complex. Trapped in the complex, Ellis must fight for survival against the growing army of dead.
Although it is flagged as a sequel, much of the action in the first part of the novel happens as the outbreak emerges, before the action in Flu and this novel tracks the outbreak of the virus. The opening scenes are also wonderfully claustrophobic as Ellis attempts to escape the complex.
As the novel progresses, we meet other characters after the onset of the virus and the events of the first novel. We meet Tom, a member of an underground conspiracy theorist group, The Truthers, who is intent on discovering the secret behind the outbreak. We also meet young soldier Ciaran, thrown into military action against the background of Northern Ireland and all of the political angst that the location suggests. Amongst the ensemble ‘cast’ we also encounter Colin, an older gay man whose marriage has broken down, a family of survivors in the midst of marriage difficulties travelling to see Tom and Brina; a young innocent girl who may well hold the secret to an antidote within her veins.
Brutal, visceral and witty, with a notable helping of abrasive language, this is not a novel for the faint hearted. Moving at a fast pace, yet still retaining insights into the various characters struggles, Fever is leaps and bounds above its predecessor in quality. Since writing the first novel it is obvious Simmons has developed as a writer as well as expanding his wild imagination. As such, this novel is a far richer read and great fun that leaves you satisfied, yet wanting more at the finish.
There’s only one thing left to say; Fever . . . what a way to burn!