*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: The world ended in neither fire nor ice, but blood. It began with the news reports of a rampant flu-like virus that killed all who got infected. It induced panic when the CDC admitted no cure existed. It escalated when the Federal Government declared martial law and proceeded to throw the world into chaos. It ended in blood.
To make matters worse, the McGuiness brothers discover their sister has been kidnapped. The earth shattering revelation forces them to depart their safe haven and venture out into a world stripped of societal morals. They meet up with other immune survivors along the way, each affected differently by the D.C. Virus and each with their own story. The group proves to be as different as can be, brought together only by one common cause: survival. Together, they set out following a cryptic radio transmission promising salvation in the Midwest, though the journey proves difficult. Violent encounters with other survivors shake the assemblage, and a shocking revelation tears their reality apart: the virus was released on purpose! When the shadowy organization responsible for the genocide sets their sights on the survivors, the group must run, hide, and fight their way to safety…or die trying.
This is one for the brave, in our current, worldwide pandemic situation!
The Final Strain is an apocalyptic survival story, but also an action thriller. It follows the story of gung-ho, heroic, action-man brothers, Brian and Nick McGuinness as they attempt to rescue their kidnapped sister against the backdrop of a swiftly-spreading and deadly virus. Alternate chapters also follow an array of other characters – medic Matt; Kyle and his rehab group; elderly couple, Richard and Beverley; the Crown family, and a group of rival-gang prison escapees – as they all attempt to survive the virus and the inevitable chaotic violence that comes in its wake.
The virus is a pretty horrific one, featuring a lot of blood and pain, and a quick, messy, undignified end. Again, if you’re feeling a bit delicate about the current real-life situation then this may all cut a little close to the bone for you. The difference here (or not, if you follow certain conspiracy theories) is that Gates’ virus is released deliberately, by a shadowy cabal who are fully aware of its destructive potential and are using it for their own ends. The reader gets insider information on this situation that the characters are not party to, which ramps up the tension, and the plot is packed with action, violence and some shocking twists, so its a real adrenaline-pumper of a read.
I could see this making a fantastic TV series, along the lines of 24 or The Walking Dead, with the balance of suspense, character development and action. Recommended reading, just as long as you are aren’t feeling too nervous about our current reality!
As they travelled, it became increasingly apparent that the world had transformed, perhaps even forever. An ominous sense hung heavy in the air, like the entire planet had become haunted, and the specters of the deceased wandered the earth due to a bottleneck situation on the paths to both Heaven and Hell, caused by the sheer volume of souls attempting to enter each. A line had formed on the stairway to heaven, and the highway to hell was in full blown traffic jam.
The suburban streets remained clear. Occasionally they would pass an abandoned car flashing its hazard lights, and periodically they would spot a body lying on the side of the street. In one case, a mangled corpse laid sprawled out in the center of the two-lane road. It had clearly been hit several times before. Kyle gulped and drove around it.
– Brian Gates, The Final Strain
Final Strain is available on Amazon right now!