cover image Q Island

Q Island

Russell James. Samhain, $5.50 e-book (300p) ISBN 978-1-61922-748-4

Instead of desperately reaching for a new and different way to write a zombie novel, James relies on realistic settings and characters to carry the weight of horror in unnatural circumstances. When a specialist in rare objects supplies mammoth meat for a club of millionaires, he gives no thought at all to why the well-preserved animal died in the first place. A few days after the meal, the virus that killed the mammoth, which had been safely sealed away in ice for thousands of years, is free to ravage the millionaires and spread throughout Long Island. Despite early detection and quarantine, the virus spreads rapidly among the island’s population. James’s story includes various members of the population, from CDC officials combating the outbreak to lowlife criminals who gain unexpected power in the chaos. By narrowing the focus, James creates powerful intimacy and terror. When he introduces paranormal effects of the disease, his realistic description supports the symptoms’ disturbing progressions. More importantly, there are no heroes. The horrors are not created by the virus itself, but by what it allows people to do to one another. This is a seriously creepy page-turner that will keep readers up at night. (July)