Zakk reviews “Q Island” by Russell James. 327 pages published by Samhain Publishing, LTD. (Samhain Horror)
Overall score: 4.5/5
“I’m going to return this frigging gift you gave me, this reminder of my inadequacies, this pathetic apology for ruining my life. I’m going to give it to you in the back, sever your spine between the fourth and fifth vertebrae and see how you like a life as hell on wheels.”
A 30,000 year old virus surfaces in modern day Long Island. Highly communicable, it is turning citizens into cold and calculating psychopaths. Forcing the U.S. Government’s quarantine of ground zero. Can the initial survivors stay alive long enough for a cure to be found? And is the Governments main concern to find a cure?
“Here, son. They’re all yours. I got my own place to keep secure. I don’t want anything to do with what I just saw on the security camera, and I don’t want to be stuck in here when this town goes all hellfire crazy.”
“Q Island” is my third Russell James read, all in this year, and while overall it isn’t my favorite of his that I’ve experienced it doesn’t trail by much. And there’s no question that the dude can write. Going into a Russell James book I’ve already come to expect great characterization and solid, realistic dialogue (a must for my full enjoyment of a book). And both shine through here. Add in a higher level of gristle and gore (when compared to Dreamwalker and Blood Red Roses) and a near constant level of tension and you come away with a highly entertaining read.
The situation, as it unfolds, feels like a realistic interpretation of how an event like this would go down. Where you, the survivor, would have to be cautious of the dangerous infected but more so of the power hungry chaotic and opportunistic non-infected. With the government (unfortunately) as a wild card, not guaranteed to have your best interest at heart. It’s depressing and intelligent. Making for plenty of anxiety laced, nail biting moments.
I was hooked on the story line of Dr. Samuel Bradshaw trying to find a cure with the CDC as a hindrance. I was equally hooked on the story line of the (for all intents and purposes) single mother Melanie with her autistic son Aiden. It was handled deftly and sensitively. I found myself concerned for their well being and rooting for their success/ survival.
I was not as hooked on the story line of Jimmy Wade, a deadbeat petty thief turned infected, hyper aware villain. Not right out of the gate anyway. But he began to grow on me, especially in the third act. When he is at his most deplorable.
But when it’s all said and done “Q Island” is a quality, engaging read with disturbing baddies (infected and non-infected alike), heartfelt good guys, viscous action and enough splatter to satisfy any genre fan.
P.S. The synopsis gives away a lot, mostly third act material, so avoid that if you can. But check out “Q Island”. It’s all the rage. 😉
“The mind of the infected still hums along. Rational thought, the ability to plan and technical skills are all still working. The infected don’t just blindly want to kill others, they plan to kill others.”
Zakk is a big dumb animal.