A group of scouts encounter a horrific virus on an abandoned island, leading rapidly to a lord-of-the-flies style scenario as friends turn to foe, and suppressed urges rise as they fall apart in their increasingly desperate quest to deal with the situation.
This is truly an expertly woven and grippingly written tale of the paranoia and mistrust that can hatch from a crisis, much time is spent developing background characters to each of the boys, and when it all starts to go horribly wrong, you instinctively side with the protagonists only to witness them indiscriminately fall asunder to the evil in their midst.
A great poignancy is placed on the seeming abandonment of the troop by all adult influences and presence, and the helplessness and confusion this creates only sends an increasingly stomach-churning chain of events even further south.
The author has attributed his influences for the novel to such landmark classics as The Thing, Carrie, and even Irvine Welsh’s Filth, and you can see why throughout.
This is without a doubt the best horror I have read since Stephen King changed his name to Richard Bachman, and it very much deserved to win this year’s James Herbert Award. Savour every page.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2014