William Morrow | July 2020 | 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Having read three of Paul Tremblay's books and enjoyed them, I figured I couldn't turn down this latest release by him, especially since the theme hit a little too close to reality in a way.
Massachusetts residents are living in worrying and fear. In just a matter of weeks, they've been overrun by a mysterious, insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, this disease has a short incubation period of an hour or so and once the person is infected, he'll quickly lose his mind and is driven to bite and infect others (which reminds me a bit like zombies but well, they aren't walking deads). With the hospitals being inundated with the sick and dying, the commonwealth has no other option but to have the state quarantined and under curfew.
Natalie, who's eight months pregnant, is waiting for her husband's return from his grocery trip when horror strikes. In an attempt to save her husband who's being bitten by their infected neighbour, Natalie suffers the same fate as she, too, is bitten. Unlike her husband who is viciously attacked, Natalie's condition isn't considered fatal but she has to get to a hospital within an hour to receive a rabies vaccine, although it isn't a cure but it might buy her some time. Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman is a pediatrician and she happens to be a friend of Natalie. She agrees to bring Natalie to the hospital, knowing that she'll be breaking some safety protocols but aside from racing against the time, their biggest challenge would be the journey itself as they'd be faced with various kinds of dangers and most of all, how far would one go for survival, and for a friend?
If you're familiar with Paul Tremblay's works, you should be aware of his creativity and his taut writing style when it comes to constructing a dark, horrifying story like this one. His characters are fleshed out and intriguing; the topics may be gruesome or unthinkable but in this case he also adds the humanity issue for the reader to ponder about -- to save or not to save under dire circumstances? And what would one do to survive? This was one fast and a compelling read (and such a timely one given the current pandemic situation) as the story took place over the course of a few hours so the reader could feel the sense of horror and urgency in parallel with the two characters.
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