Back in 2008, I was working as a grunt for Books-A-Million. I hadn't really made myself out to be much of a reader and most books struggled to grab my attention. Things geared up when I became entranced by the cover of Contagious by Scott Sigler (the second book in the series). There was something about the simple, yet haunting, image of a man wearing a gas mask and staring into your soul that told me I had to know more. Once I realized it was book two, I looked up book one and began my journey with Infected.
Infected had me by the balls almost instantaneously. It was raw, intense, and surprisingly funny to boot. Scott Sigler proved to be not only a gifted Sci-Fi scribe, but a master of wit and stomach turning descriptions on the level of Chuck Palahniuk (eventually surpassing his level of style). The scenes with Perry Dawsey left me with feeling of being in the room if not experiencing the same pains and sufferings. As soon as it was over, I had to pick up a copy of Contagious and continue the story.
(Lots of spoilers if you continue reading. I warned you.)
Contagious took the story of "the blue triangles" to a much larger scale. The characters who survived the first book (Perry Dawsey cut the aliens out of his body) now have a bigger issue to deal with. The aliens are reproducing rapidly and the world's survival is at stake. Sigler proves his skills with combat with military dialogue coupled with the wit and Sci-Fi balance to make a decent follow-up. I preferred Infected due to its smaller scale and attention to detail, but it concluded (or I thought had concluded) the story. Perry and Dew (the best characters in the whole series) became infected, but they went out with dignity when a nuclear bomb is set off to destroy the villains (commanded by an alien inside a little girl, no less). I do distinctly remember throwing this book across the room when I finished it, but it was the first and last time I really felt attached to a book's characters.
Six years have passed since I read those first two books. They have always stuck with me even though I've read quite a few books since then. I didn't think it was necessary for there to be a third novel, but Sigler promised one and I waited. I'd check his website every few months to see if there would be any updates--none came. I even gave up at one point (found other things to do--way less dramatic). It wasn't until I got a ping on my audible subscription that it was revealed that not only had the book come out, but it's been out for six months. I downloaded my copy and opened a book that literally could have gone anywhere with the story. It practically had a clean slate to work with.
Pandemic utilizes themes from its predecessors. The first chunk of the story deals with the haunting memories of Margaret Montoya, coping with the decision to nuke Perry Dawsey off the face of the earth in an effort to save mankind. The final moments of that interaction in Contagion constantly plays in her mind while she deals with a failed marriage and a struggle with getting pregnant. To add on top of it, she has been asked to return to the front lines of the war on triangles to discover the ultimate weapon. Her story through this edition to the series is heartbreaking but fulfilling.
I didn't know where Sigler would take the story without his key leads, but I felt Margaret was a worthy main protagonist along with several others that play an integral role in securing the safety of our planet. I felt the ending of her life was a fitting conclusion as she got to atone for the murder of her friends and colleagues while obliterating the triangle presence for good. Once again, the touch of Sci-Fi and action sequences kept the rest of the novel thumping along to make it a solid entry and good ending to the series.
Thank you, Scott for a great trilogy. I look forward to reading more of your books.
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.