Hodder & Stoughton, out now
A hunt for a cache of gold in the Iraq desert leads to a horrifying discovery as something apparently unstoppable is unleashed…
Short paragraphs. Two-word sentences.
Adam Baker’s style is very reminiscent of a combination of Matthew Reilly and James Patterson, and like both those authors, he uses it to tell a punchy story that keeps you engrossed from start to finish. Every so often – usually when one of the characters is flashing back to an incident, or a story is being related – the prose reverts to a longer form, but for the many action sequences, it’s a style that works well.
The story bears some resemblance to the George Clooney Iraq movie The Three Kings, with cynical ex-servicemen following the trail of some gold. However what Lucy, Amanda and the crew don’t realise is that they’re pawns of the CIA, investigating the wreckage of a mysterious Russian craft that crashed. And what was on board that craft? Something that creates zombies…
The combat scenes are frequent, often profanity-filled, and very clearly imagined. The sparsity of the style helps to give the reader the point of view of the various soldiers encountering the zombies (or Iraqis in the standard combat scenarios), since they would only have fleeting impressions rather than have the chance to sit and take notes about what they’re looking at.
While none of the characters is particularly sympathetic, you do find yourself rooting for some of them to make it – even when you’re told up front who does survive.
Verdict: Apart from a slightly misjudged epilogue, going for a shock that the book doesn’t need to be effective, this is a great mash-up of zombie and military thriller. 7/10