The invisible killer. We’ve all seen the media frenzy over the latest deadly outbreaks: SARs, Avian flu…. We’ve all been gripped with fear as they sensationalize the story, only to have it disappear soon after; leaving us to wonder if this was just another scare story. Yet history is riddled with stories of deadly plagues and killer viruses ravaging populations and wiping out civilizations. What makes us think that it could not happen again?
Sam North’s latest novel is not a work of Science Fiction. It’s not even a work of fiction. It is potential fact!
Set in Vancouver, this is the tale of a world ravaged by a mutated version of the avian flu virus. People are dropping dead in the thousands, society has broken down and anarchy is slowly ensuing. In the midst of all this turmoil are three sets of characters, Fen and her dog Red who, along with her family, flee to a remote island in an attempt to wait out the epidemic. Arno flies from Toronto to Vancouver to find Rachel, the woman he loves, and together they try to outrun the virus. Finally there’s Deka, a cab driver whose good friend Dr Borov somehow helps them both to survive the virus with his own medicinal cocktail. The so-called experts have failed to develop an effective vaccine and now most of these experts are also dead. People are afraid of people. No-one knows who to trust. The government are no longer able to protect you. The economy is all but destroyed. The world seems doomed.
Yet out of the ashes emerge these three sets of characters who prove that all is not lost. When all is said and done it’s the ordinary people who save the day. Through all the doom and seeming despair, hope remains alive with some. When you’ve hit rock bottom and survived, the only way is up.
What makes this book so much more compelling is Sam’s easygoing and free-flowing style of writing. Rarely have I discovered an author who can draw you into his world so easily. His writing is alive and engaging, and the dialogue is so down to earth that you feel like the people are next to you acting it out. Sam has the enviable ability to create a diverse group of characters that the reader is able to vividly picture and instantly like or dislike; something that should be commonplace, but is sadly lacking in many of today’s books.
Fascinating, frightening and compelling, Another Place to Die is the ultimate page-turner which I guarantee will result in many late nights under the bedside light with you uttering, ‘just one more chapter!!’
Reviewed by Ian Middleton: Travel Writer and photographer, and author of Mysterious World: Ireland.
Get your copy of Another Place to Die here: