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Pandemic    by Scott Sigler order for
by Scott Sigler
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2014 (2014)

* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In the two previous instalments, Infected and Contagious, an alien pathogen came close to causing a human extinction. If not for the efforts of Dr. Margaret Montoya, humankind would be no more. Hard choices had to be made for which she's either been labelled hero or mass murderer. Nightmares and soul-grinding self-hatred have turned Margaret into a recluse, unable to face the new reality.

Unfortunately, the alien infection isn't quite dead. One tiny canister filled with deadly micro organisms survives on the floor of Lake Michigan and the pathogen inside is even more intent on innihilating the human species. Can Margaret and her team outsmart the alien pandemic once again or will this last battle finally wipe us from the face of the planet?

Pandemic, which is gruesome and in your face, posits a nifty otherworldly concept that's fleshed out with oodles of technical jargon, not to mention oodles and oodles of characters. And did I say gruesome? Not a problem for me; I'm hooked on The Walking Dead and the alien infection that's ravaging the planet in this story is as determined and insatiable as those zombies. That the infection has been programmed to think and mutate accordingly is even scarier.

What was lacking in this immense story (which is close to 600 pages) is that I couldn't invest in any of the characters because: a) I hadn't read the first two instalments and didn't know much of the leads' back stories; and b) the oodles of new characters Sigler doesn't kill off within a chapter or two are generally overshadowed by way too much technical jargon.

Even so, I enjoyed this sprawling story and would like to see it, or an incarnation, come to life either on the big screen or as a mini-series to see who packs a scarier punch - the zombies or the Creators who initially set loose their tiny seeds of infection.

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