Rating: 4 out of 5
Carol Gore’s Infested (Rewind or Die) is a great classic-style horror novel. Casey works for the Green Swamp Zip-Line Adventure and Campground. At the moment, she’s been helping Dr. Phillip Edwards release sterilized mosquitos that are supposed to help lower the population of mosquitos on the whole. It’s the result of a grant from a nearby university, and Casey hopes it will keep the man who runs the campground, Mr. Wright, from using damaging pesticides in the swamp. It’s bad enough that the chemical plant upstream has previously contaminated the local water. Then the unthinkable happens–a person is attacked by hundreds of seriously large mosquitos, and dies. Next there are humongous horse flies that eat an alligator alive. Unfortunately, Mr. Wright refuses to shut the park down, tries to victim-blame for one incident, and–oh yeah, he has ties to the chemical company! Can Casey and Phillip figure out what’s happening and make it stop before the entire town is eaten alive?
The characters are great. Casey has a troubled family, is often dismissed and overlooked by her boss, and just wants to be able to make a living in the swamp that’s always been there for her. Phillip starts out as the befuddled professor, but he has a certain strength to him as well. And might there be an attraction between the two? Mr. Wright is not as well-detailed, but he also isn’t the focus of the book, so I think it works well enough. Casey’s family–her depressed, pill-popping mom and her bully of a cop brother–turn out to have more to them than I expected, which was nice.
The swamp is great, and I love the descriptions of the overgrown insects. Centipedes, spiders, roaches, wheelbugs–they all start showing up in larger sizes and with disturbing appetites. It’s a classic horror-style monster romp with a great cast and a fun plot. There are some good surprises along the way, too, despite the fact that this isn’t an incredibly long book!
All in all I really enjoyed this book. I did have one complaint: at one point Casey takes it upon herself to make her mom go cold turkey from pain pills, alcohol, and anti-depressants, all at once. Any one of those without the supervision of a doctor could go incredibly badly, much less all three!
Content note for gore and some seriously scary insects!