Book Review - Tooth And Nail by Craig DiLouie
The zombie genre isn't normally one that I pick up and read on a regular basis. But I enjoyed Craig DiLouie's earlier medical pandemic novels, so when offered a chance to read Tooth And Nail, I accepted. I'm very glad I did, too. This is a different look at zombies, one that actually makes sense and is a potentially viable scenario. I found myself totally wrapped up in the story, and putting it down was harder than with most books I've read of late.
DiLouie centers his story around a squad of soldiers who have been rushed back from the Middle East to take up a new post in downtown New York. There's a virus making the rounds, and the military is required to safeguard key points of infrastructure in the city. The virus has a high mortality rate, and the number of sick people in the city are overwhelming hospitals and other medical facilities. Occasionally the troops see someone who has turned rabid and vicious from the disease, and this presents a quandary for the soldiers. It's one thing to shoot people in a country you're warring against. But shooting Americans on American soil? That's not what they signed up for, and a number of them can't reconcile the conflicts.
As more people start to show the signs of the final stage of the new disease, it becomes harder to defend buildings and even themselves. Regardless of how many people they kill, there are others who take their place. As the city devolves into mass chaos, it becomes obvious to the soldiers that the entire country is having the same problem, and that the government is likely not in control any longer. Their final mission is to get to a scientist who might have a vaccine for the virus. From there, they need to get her to a rendezvous location where she can be airlifted out before the city is sealed off and left to die. But given the number of zombies vs the remaining soldiers, they know that this might well be a suicide mission. The question is whether they should obey their commanders for a leadership that doesn't exist, or choose to survive by banding together and striking out on their own.
DiLouie takes the whole zombie genre out of the realm of the supernatural and places it into a medical pandemic scenario. Given the nature of bioengineering, it's easy to conceive of a virus that would be highly virulent and that would not have a readily available cure if it got out of control. DiLouie handles both the logistics of a societal breakdown as well as the personal choices that one would be forced to make in a situation like that. Tooth And Nail keeps up a fast pace as the situation continues to deteriorate, and I really didn't want to put the book down. "Just one more chapter..."
Obtained From: Author