Review: Fever / Author: Wayne Simmons / Publisher: Snowbooks / Released: February 1st
FEVER is the sequel/prequel to Simmons’ FLU, and is a welcome addition to the burgeoning zombie sub-genre of horror literature. It isn’t necessary to have read FLU before picking this up, as this tome works perfectly well as a standalone effort and shows that Simmons’ writing is maturing.
Considering there are quite a few characters and locations, it is testament to the skills of the author that you find yourself rooting for the good guys and hoping for a messy death for the villains. Sometimes, as with most zombie fiction, the lines are hazy and you can’t always tell who’s on the level, but that’s the beauty of books like this in that they can supply a steady stream of surprises without the reader feeling jaded by them.
FEVER starts with a set up in the ubiquitous underground research facility where the virus is created and although there are plenty of clichés littered about, it does not affect the pace of the tale. In fact, at times FEVER is breath-taking and unrelenting and you cannot fail to want to turn the page and see what happens next. The whole sequence feels claustrophobic and you can feel the almost palpable fear that the characters are feeling as they try and fight their way out, battling past zombified humans and animals alike. After this prologue of sorts, we are taken away to follow a few desperate bands of survivors, both individuals and those who have banded into groups. The author manages to weave a tapestry between the factions in the build up to a conclusion that, whilst pretty clear to readers of FLU and those of similar fiction, is exciting and keeps you interested in the destiny of each character.
Once a shady group of military personnel are thrown into the mix, the bar is slightly raised as it dawns on everyone that they are in a fight for their very lives – not just from the virus that appears to be all consuming and leads to a horrific and painful death, but also from the authorities that are supposed to be there to help them and keep them safe. Some characters even consider taking their own way out, adding another layer of interest in those individuals.
There is a thinly veiled conspiracy theory at the heart of the story, with some characters communicating between each other on a failing internet, passing classified information on in an attempt to blow the whole secret wide open to any survivors that are still interested. Of course, there is also a ‘golden child’, who appears to be immune to the virus and may hold the answer to curing the outbreak in her blood. Once she is found, the race is on to secure her, but can the survivors trust the military figures who promise safe haven?
There is plenty of zombie fiction available out there and it’s not always possible to know what is good and bad. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of one of the good ones. FEVER is an excellent read and Simmons is one to watch for the future.