It’s about time for another infusion of horror into your reading lives, and we have two new books by well-known horror authors to get your spine chilling and your pulse racing.
Let’s start with Joe Hill’s new book, The Fireman. For those who are doing the 2016 Reading Challenge, this book qualifies in TWO categories: horror and post-apocalyptic/dystopian book (and yes, you can use one book for more than one category; that’s explicitly allowed in the rules), so that’s another reason to pick it up. The premise is genuinely disturbing: a terrible contagious disease is infecting the world. Called Dragonscale by the public (of course there’s a scientific name, but Dragonscale is so much more descriptive), the symptoms include a skin condition that gives the sufferers gold and black scales (making them pretty obvious to people around them). The disease almost inevitably leads to the victim’s spontaneously combusting. There’s no antidote, no cure, no vaccine, and nobody knows where it came from or what to do about it. Our protagonist is a pregnant nurse, Harper. Before she came down with the disease herself, when she was just treating dozens of victims (before her hospital burned down, and you know those things are related), she and her husband, Jacob, agreed that if either of them were infected, they wouldn’t wait till the disease killed them. However, now that she’s both pregnant and infected with the disease, she wants to stay alive until she can give birth, hopefully to an uninfected child. Her husband does not agree. The world is falling apart, and groups of vigilantes, called Cremation Squads, are chasing down and killing not only obviously infected people, but anyone they believe might be infected. Into this horror comes a strange man, infected with Dragonscale himself but able to control the fire. He calls himself the Fireman and he offers Harper a chance for survival, but at what cost?
The other book is the third book in a trilogy that has attracted thousands and thousands of loyal fans. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin is also a post-apocalyptic novel, the climax of the Passage trilogy (the first two, for those who haven’t started the series yet, are The Passage and The Twelve). The first book introduced us to a world where a vampire bat virus turned infectious and created legions of vampires, destroying civilization, except for the one young woman who had the power to stop them. The second book deepened the chaos and danger, bringing the human characters face to face with a horrifying cabal of creatures whose plans for the future were much worse than the extinction of the human race, and the three main characters had to face the possibility of their own sacrifice in order to save the world. Now, in City of Mirrors, the cabal has been broken, the hundred years of night have ended, and people are re-emerging to face the prospect of creating a new civilization, a new world. Unfortunately, though, not all of the cabal members were destroyed: the one who remains is more dangerous than all the others combined, and is out to destroy Amy, the one woman who has the ability to stand up to him and his kind and keep the darkness from overpowering the world. It’s always a treat to reach the conclusion of a well-written series, and The City of Mirrors promises to reward those who have lived through the enthralling horrors of the first two books.