One of my favourite lines in this novella: ~ Michael couldn’t believe he’d driven a scooter – a fucking scooter! – into a pack of rabid killers. ~
PANIC was one of those books that I really didn’t want to put down. I hadn’t read one in this genre for a while and it was a good reintroduction to the ‘dark world’. I’ll also admit that as I love the subject matter, I was already all greased up and ready to dig into this one.
First of all let me state: If you’re looking for hard-core blood and gore horror this is not the book for you, in fact I didn’t feel as though I was reading a horror, but more a suspenseful/supernatural/thriller of some sort. Additionally it fed my hunger for stories that progress through the eyes of multiple characters, an element that I truly enjoy especially when done very well, as is the case here. Griffiths makes wonderful use of words and scattered across the pages are a range of memorable metaphors that are neither cliché or overdone. As for the story itself, I’m not one to give many spoilers so here’s my quick summary:
Protagonist Michael is a policeman who has no idea of the storm he’s going to face when he first begins his rounds one sleepy morning in rural Wales. In less than a few hours his life and the lives of those across their town of St. David’s turns upside down, as residents begin to turn on each other in the most horrific ways. The cause – a quickly spreading infection, taking the strongest down with ease and leaving little hope for the survival of the weak. Little details are given early on about this sudden outbreak, though it soon becomes clear that it’s not as random as it appears and the words Project Wildfire carry a nefarious meaning with them. Throughout the book it’s implied that the same is occurring across the UK, but the story keeps readers locked into the events of the little town. Characters like ‘nerves-of-steel’ Rachel and the mysterious Victor among others, make this story’s progress one that interests throughout.
Coming from Barbados, an island of under 300k residents and having imagined this kind of scenario happening here, I felt that the author really hit the nail on the head with his descriptions and explanations of the heightened emotions the events in the book elicited. One of my only contentions was that the epilogue seemed a bit anti-climactic — simply tacked on as opposed to being a necessary addition.
Overall however, this is a definite read for fans of zombie/outbreak books, especially if you enjoy those that really delve into the lives of the characters experiencing the turmoil.
Star Rating 1 – 5: **** 4
Find the book here on Amazon: Panic (Wildfire Chronicles, Vol. 1) by K.R. Griffiths