by Alexander Gordon Smith (Author)
With Zombies apparently flavour of the month in horror fiction, any new variation on the theme needs to have an original idea if the story isn’t to fall into the trap of heroes being menaced by zombies (either dead or infected), escaping by running away very fast, being menaced again, running away again etc.
Alexander Gordon Smith’s The Fury, starts with a very novel twist: every single person turns into a bloodthirsty, mindless zombie only when they come into close proximity to the main characters. If their victims escape (or are killed), the zombies return to their normal lives with no memory of what’s happened to them. This juxtaposition of horror and normality, especially when friends and family attack the characters, is both effective and disturbing, as it initially has no rational explanation.
As the survivors hole up in and abandoned amusement park and attempt to make sense of what’s happened, they too begin to undergo changes. They represent the usual cross-section of teenagers, who are altered, not only physically but also by the difficult decisions they are forced to make in order to stay alive; the most interesting being the boorish Brick and the self-righteous and arrogant Rilke. Running in tandem with this main narrative is an equally compelling – and, initially, seemingly unrelated thread - involving a police forensic investigation into a very strange corpse. Slowly the two plot strands weave together as the characters finally begin to figure out the bigger picture and realise exactly why they’ve been spared.
Fast paced and with some exciting set pieces, The Fury, as the first volume in a larger series, doesn’t answer all the questions it raises. It does, however, spare the reader the agony of a cliffhanger ending and has a self-contained and satisfying resolution that left me hungry for more.
This review was published online in