If you like: triangles * parasites * gory mutilation
In Infected, several individuals have unexpectedly turned violent towards those around them. These events rapidly escalate and end in homicide, along with, often incendiary, suicide. Strangely, before this occurs, the individuals mention triangles and become increasingly paranoid. As the CIA and CDC investigate, the quest to find a living case intensifies, since the bodies decompose at an alarming rate. Investigators race to discover those who are infected, and understand what is truly happening to them.
The parallel discoveries of the investigators and Perry Dawsey, the infected individual that the story follows, provide strong structure to the story. Initially the investigators think they are dealing with isolated psychiatric incidents. Dawsey believes he just has a strange rash. Soon, the medical experts hypothesize a much more complex and biological origin to the events. Dawsey begins to feel the parasitic nature of the triangles after a few days and knows something is seriously wrong. As the truth becomes apparent to each group (if you can call Dawsey and his triangles a group), the very nature of the infestation prevents them from working together. The reader experiences heightened stress as it becomes clear that the two would greatly benefit from working together, but will never get to that point. One can imagine a parallel series of events during which Dawsey seeks help earlier and the team works together to discover the origin of this crisis. Instead, the epidemic goes from bad to worse, and horrifying consequences result.
The complex and intimidating aspects of the triangles in Infected will leave the reader itchily uncomfortable that this could happen to them. The vivid description of these parasites will make any reader’s skin crawl. It is difficult not to feel the pressure of growing organisms under one’s skin. These effects are intensified by the investigative team repeatedly finding evidence of self-mutilation, and recoiling in horror as they try to imagine what could drive a person to this. The realistic portrayal of these parasites will leave the reader wanting to look the other way, without being able to stop reading. It is almost as if the reader too is infected, because the narrative development is so compelling. Rather than delve into complex otherworldly technology, Infected stays grounded, creating an antagonist that seems organically created, and perfectly suited to feed off of human life.
If you would cut off your own leg to stop the invasion, read Infected.
Sigler, Scott. Infected: A Novel. Crown Publishing Group, 2008. Kindle Edition.