Review

Contagious

by Scott Sigler

I just finished reading CONTAGIOUS by Scott Sigler, and I am so
overloaded with adrenalin I can barely type. I may be up for nights
watching reruns of “24” until I get back to what passes
for normal. The book is that good.

I will probably anger a number of different people for a number
of different reasons, so I’ll just get it over with: Scott
Sigler is the Robert A. Heinlein of our times. That, coming from
me, is not a compliment; it is worship. I do not make a statement
like that lightly. Exhibit A, submitted for your perusal: INFECTED,
Sigler’s first novel with a major publisher. It was so
horrifying and real that I had to endure a month of blistering hot
showers before I quit feeling the microscopic mites that we carry
around with us. Be warned: CONTAGIOUS, the second installment of
what appears to be a trilogy, is even better. I haven’t felt
like this since I picked up Heinlein’s STARSHIP TROOPERS and
read it all in one sitting. Sigler picks up where Heinlein left
off, however, and continues the work that the dean of space age
fiction left undone.

That is not to say that CONTAGIOUS is strictly science fiction.
It is also a horror novel, a military thriller, a
mystery…there’s even a tiny bit of romance thrown in,
but don’t blink or you might miss it. The basic plot concerns
a very subtle alien invasion. The initial stages of the strike take
the form of a pathogen that invades the body of a human being and
takes it over, transforming your loved one into a psychopathic
killer. The infection manifests itself through triangles on the
skin. The aim of all of this is to build a gateway between our
planet and somewhere else. INFECTED gave a hint as to what to
expect to see coming out of a gateway, and we don’t want
it.

For its part, CONTAGIOUS takes place just a few weeks after the
conclusion of its predecessor. The United States continues to wage
a secret, deadly war against the invaders, locating potential
gateways thanks to the ability of Perry Dawsey, a hero in every
sense of the word. Introduced in INFECTED, Dawsey is the only known
person to survive an infestation of the triangles and live to tell
the tale. He is left with a mysterious but invaluable talent: the
ability to locate the invaders’ human hosts. Dawsey, however,
is violent and unpredictable, which makes him extremely difficult
to control when confronted with a host. But there is an even
greater problem.

The invaders can adapt in order to fool their pursuers and, in
the process, have become contagious. Worse, they have found a way
to block Dawsey’s ability to locate them, even as one
unlikely host becomes unexpectedly powerful and seeks to force a
showdown with Dawsey aiming to eliminate him from the war. The
triangles, as they become known, are more powerful and deadly than
ever. As Dawsey and a team of medical and military personnel trace
the triangles from a rural landscape to the urban streets of one of
America’s most dangerous cities, another gateway is secretly
being built, with only one man standing between its completion and
a successful invasion.

Sigler is nothing short of incredible. He is one of those very
few authors gifted with the ability to explain the difficult and
complex from a number of different fields --- mathematics, biology,
physics --- and simultaneously scaring the living daylights out of
you without missing a single beat on any drum. Anything can happen
here, and does. Sigler breaks rules, takes the pieces and breaks
them again. You’ve never read anything like CONTAGIOUS.
Unless you’ve read INFECTED, of course. But that will only
prepare you for this one. Don’t miss either.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 28, 2010

Contagious
by Scott Sigler

  • Publication Date: December 29, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway
  • ISBN-10: 0307406326
  • ISBN-13: 9780307406323