Mike Carey is one of those writers who have become compulsory reading for a certain sort of word nerd. His previous work includes the likes of Lucifer, Fellside, X-Men and of course, The Girl with All the Gifts. The latter book was one of the most refreshing zombie stories to come across the Starburst desk in quite some time, and the inevitable movie adaptation was equally astonishing.
The Boy on the Bridge is a story set in the same world; you don’t have to have read the last book but we recommend you do simply because it’s very good. As the book begins, the zombie apocalypse is in full swing. A highly contagious fungus has brought mankind to the brink of extinction. The heavily protected mobile lab the Rosalind Franklin is on mission to discover a cure at any cost, no matter how brutal.
From the start, we know the expedition is doomed. Carey sets the tone brilliantly. Part of the point of this tale is that is a bleak tale of how humanity copes in the worst of situations. It’s the zombie horror genre stripped to it’s most essential components. Humanity torn apart by its own hunger and need to be dominant.
Carey’s style is as accessible as always, but this is very, very bleak reading. Mankind is still bickering despite staring down the barrel of extinction. Scientists are doing everything they can, but they aren’t miracle workers, and the heady blend of ignorance and jealously is a perfect recipe for conflict. Add to the volatile mix of scientist and military types is a young genius with no social skills.
You can see the beats coming and you still turn the page. Carey is a master at heart-stopping, mind-breaking horror. Even though we know what’s next, it’s impossible to deny the story once you get going. Heart in mouth compelling stuff.
THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE / AUTHOR: M. R. CAREY / PUBLISHER: ORBIT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW