cover image Pandemic


Scott Sigler. Crown, $26 (592p) ISBN 978-0-3074-0897-6

Bestseller Sigler’s conclusion to his Infected trilogy, a terrifying horror thriller, improves on its predecessor, 2008’s Contagious. A brief prologue brings newcomers up to speed: an alien race known as the Creators launched a machine to Earth that sent out probes containing seeds with the capacity to infiltrate human bodies and convert them into violent zombielike creatures. Humanity has managed to destroy most of the probes, but one remains intact at the bottom of Lake Michigan. The aliens depend on “three existing, proven designs”: hatchlings, whose main purpose is to kill; crawlers, which use hive intelligence to infect; and mommies, which turn people into spore-distribution systems. Prospects for survival are slim as the numbers of the infected and the dead ratchet up geometrically. Scientists, led by Dr. Margaret Montoya, struggle to develop an antidote, racing the clock as the news gets more and more bleak. Sigler does almost too good a job in creating an existential threat, and, in keeping with the hit TV series The Walking Dead, he doesn’t hesitate to dispose of key characters. This apocalyptic epic will happily engage World War Z fans. Agent: Byrd Leavell, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Jan.)