12 October 2013

Review: Infected by Scott Sigler

Infected (Infected #1) by Scott Sigler

1 April 2008 by Crown

Pages: 342 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Science Fiction, Horror

Source: Own library


Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families. 

Working under the government’s shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common – they’ve been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.

Meanwhile Perry Dawsey – a hulking former football star now resigned to life as a cubicle-bound desk jockey – awakens one morning to find several mysterious welts growing on his body. Soon Perry finds himself acting and thinking strangely, hearing voices . . . he is infected. 

The fate of the human race may well depend on the bloody war Perry must wage with his own body, because the parasites want something from him, something that goes beyond mere murder.

My Thoughts

I first read Infected in early 2010, just before my zombie obsession started, and although it was more than three years ago, I could still remember how this book made me feel (more on that later!). With the release of the third book coming up in a just a few weeks, I wanted to go back and re-read both Infected and Contagious as both a refresher and to be able to write a review which I didn’t do the first time around.

Infected is told through three POVs – the most memorable and the one that held my attention the most being that of Perry, the former footballer who now has a fairly mundane but comfortable life repairing computers and spending most of his time with his BFF, Bill. What makes Perry so memorable is not so much the character he is at the beginning of the book, but what he goes through during the course of the story. It’s difficult to explain exactly how Perry changes without spoiling the plot, but it’s also connected to the reason I had remembered this book so vividly three years and three hundred books later.

The second POV is Doctor Margaret Montoya and is perhaps for me the weakest POV. What Sigler does exceptionally well in this series is to build an intricate and complex plot with detailed explanation on the infection, the causes and the effects, but it does manifest as a little bit of info-dumping in Margaret’s perspective. It’s a difficult balance, and for a reader who is much more interested with the science than me it would most probably be fascinating. Having said all of that, Margaret is a complex character, and not stereotypical in the role that she plays – she isn’t overly confident and it does make her more likeable to have that vulnerability whilst giving her room to grow and develop as a character.

Lastly is the POV of Dew Phillips, the aging former military-man turned cop. I know my description of him sounds a little cliché, and he is actually just that. His anger at his daughter’s life choices, his language and actions should make him a cardboard cut-out, but it’s his dedication to his partner and finding out as much as possible about the infection that makes him far more than that.

As I hinted at earlier, there are several parts of Infected that stuck with me for a very specific reason, and had just the same effect on me the second time around. I’m trying to play with the words to try and make it not negative, but there are certain parts of this book that had me feeling physically nauseous. Now, before you click away from this review and think this isn’t a book for you, I also want to explain that those particular parts, although gruesome, are incredibly well written. To be able to evoke such a reaction in me, when I have only ever cried over two books in my lifetime and that this is the only one to make me feel physically nauseous, actually says a lot about the prowess of Sigler’s writing. And you can always skim those bits if you can’t handle it ;-)

Infected is split into very short chapters which fits the pacing of the book perfectly – the story moves quickly and the POVs are well defined and all very relevant to the story. Often with multiple POVs I find myself rushing through the ‘less interesting’ one to get back to the character I find most interesting, but that wasn’t the case with Infected. I found all the characters, and what was happening to them, interesting and very relevant to the story.

Infected is a frenetic read, with excellent world-building, interesting characters that shrug off their outer clichés, develop throughout the story and still have room to grow in the next book. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted in places, but it remains one of my favourite non-zombie virus books by far.


  1. Wow
    Well this book definitely has to be amazing for you to remember it after a couple of years
    GREAT review, Kat, as always
    Your reader,

  2. Hmmm, I think I really need to check out this book, and even more if the last book in the trilogy is coming out soon! Series binge reading!



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