Review: “The Black: Outbreak,” Paul E. Cooley

Pros: LOTS of tension and action
Cons: Want more!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Paul E. Cooley’s The Black: Outbreak (book three) follows on the heels of The Black: Arrival (book two) and just The Black (book one). One thing that sometimes annoys me in books is to have the plot bouncing back and forth between various locations and/or times so much that you can’t keep track of it. I love the way Cooley handled this. In book one, folks on an oil rig found stuff under the sea floor that they thought was oil–of course it turned out to be a really weird, very hungry organism. Partway through the book they had to send a barrel of sample off to a lab (this was before they realized it wasn’t oil). Instead of trying to deal with both of these at once, the author turned the arrival of the barrel at the lab into book two. When someone early on gets sent to the hospital (again, before they knew it wasn’t oil), the ramifications of that are taken up in book three. The books overlap, but cover three totally separate portions of the story. I’m delighted by that.

Anyway, the plot is pretty simple: Book one, oil rig finds not-oil, all hell breaks loose. Book two, not-oil was sent off to the lab for more testing–all hell breaks loose. Book three, woman accidentally gets contaminated with not-oil and goes to the hospital, where all hell breaks loose. I know that sounds like not much plot for three books, but I loved it. There are some bits and pieces that don’t seem entirely logical, but hey, it’s a fun monster story with some really neat details. The ordering of the story-parts is fantastic, and I loved watching as the characters tried like hell to save themselves from a truly nasty monster. The only problem is that I’m really getting to the part where I want to know more about the not-oil and its origins. I hear rumor that’s what the next book is about, though, so I’ll have to be patient (not my strong suit).

Looking for a fun read with blood, gore, science, and maybe-aliens? Read this series!

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