4 Hours is grim, desolate, unnerving, and gross. So tick, tick, tick, and tick!
I believe that this story follows on from John F Leonard’s previous novel, Collapse, although this one can be read without reading the former. Well this was how I approached it. And I’d agree with the previous point, I never felt like I was lacking any information that would have heightened my enjoyment.
In fact, I think going into this story with no idea what the hell was going on only aided me in sharing the stunned and desperate reactions of the characters.
Humanity has been almost wiped out as an infection takes hold of London. It seems that a few are immune to the transformation into these hideous creatures that are sort-of-human/sort-of-beast monsters with only one thing on their disease-addled minds; the flesh of the living. You see, even though your immune to the infection, you ain’t immune to being munched on!
But what is this infection I speak of? I don’t know, and that made this book even more frightening. We all know about books and movies describing/showing news reports, as whatever the latest outbreak is, sweeps across the country. The characters are then prepped about what they’re facing and how to go about defending themselves. But not here, it’s just one big mystery. Although, I’m saying all that, maybe it is explained in Collapse.
As with most apocalyptic horror stories, there’s not a great scope for any great plot twists or things you haven’t really seen before; it’s all about the characters and the mood. Well here, they are done well and certainly don’t disappoint.
This novella isn’t re-inventing the wheel, more like presenting you with a wheel made of human bones with clotted gore dripping from the decrepit spokes that are actually razor sharp teeth ready to rip your puny body to shreds. The monsters here are grotesque and described in stunning detail. Being infected seemingly isn’t good for your looks.
The two main characters, Pearcey and Gallagher, are sent above ground from their secret Government bunker to find out just what the Jesus is going on up there. Their exploits turn in to a mission to find Gallagher’s daughter and, if she’s safe, rescue her from these atrocities. But of course, along the way they have to deal with a substantial number of these infected monster-bastards who just want to feed.
There’s not a massive ensemble of characters on display here, and while that’s a good thing in this fast-paced tale of survival, it did take away a few possible death scenes. What I mean is that if there were, say a couple more, then we could be treated to specifics as the beasts devoured them before the eyes of the main dudes. But I’m nit picking, and to be honest, the descriptions of the victims lying casually around the streets were terrifying enough, so being walked through what actually happened to them may have been the author’s intention to keep my dinner safely in my stomach.
So on the whole, bloody great. Collapse is now on my TBR pile so I’m excited for that. Reading books in order is just so last year!
Categories: book review