By Paul Cristo
Rated: 4 stars ****
I am at it again. I find myself reading and reviewing a book about a global pandemic, during a global pandemic. These books can either be unfortunate in timing or perfect-timing. I tend to say they are more perfect in their timing. Can’t get much more contemporary and current than that at this moment in time. So, I thank Paul Cristo for filling out my contact form on my blog with his request for a review from me, in this intense, very “Now” book.
A bizarre sickness is infecting the planet, turning its victims into contorted piles of flesh. Lewis barely notices though, rarely looking up from his number-crunching job and voracious appetite for streaming entertainment. But his life changes forever after waking up one morning to find the world’s population eradicated. Stranded without food or water, he’s forced to use ingenuity to survive, foraging resources from the desolate city around him.
Until he discovers he’s not alone.
Lewis’s new life is threatened by a violent gang of gun-wielding scavengers. He learns these men are harvesting survivors, inflicting slavery and torture for a horrifying purpose.
Outmanned and outgunned, Lewis and some newfound friends must band together, employing their collective wit and cunning against a deadly foe to avoid being killed. Or worse… captured.
DEADHEADING is a post-apocalyptic journey of survival, ingenuity, and a dollop of vengeance.
Intense and fairly graphic in parts is what instantly strikes. This is full-blown global pandemic territory. Put it this way, if you’re ever in any doubt what a virus that isn’t a cold or any other usual ailment feels like, definitely read this book to find out. This isn’t Covid 19, but it does practically show that global pandemics have to be taken seriously.
It is a dark, dark read and so visually written. It isn’t just about a pandemic in the virus sense, but also in a firearms sense as well as the human condition. This is a book that is about as dystopian as it gets, and yet there are recognisable behaviours from what we see in the world today. There’s vandalism, looting as well as those who do want to survive.
There is also the strange Heinrika in the lab, either creating something good or something that could be distastrous. Cristo creates pace, intensity and action well.
The world created is somewhat brutal and most definitely post-apocolyptic; but creatively, there does seem to be a sense of place, just not in any of your usual ways as there does seem to be a very deliberate sense of timelessness.
The main character – Lewis and others have to survive. After the shocking beginning, he meets and rescues Frankie, who has been enslaved and together they have to figure out a way to survive in what is left.
There is hope given. Really positive hope as survivors are organised with tasks to start re-building everything from infrastructure to re-planting food and sorting out the lawlessness. It’s quite a “human story” of emotion and facing extreme turbulent times that can cost you your life and facing adversity.
It may not have been a book I would immediately picked up to read, but it is in actual fact better than what I thought it would be and tells a complete story from the beginnings to the throes of the pandemic to giving hope. I do think many readers will also get stuck into this fantastical, dystopian world that the characters are transported into as a virus rampages on… If you like the film Contagion, you’re going to like this.