From the Car: Infected

Name:  Infected
Author\Read by:  Scott Sigler
Episodes:  22 Episodes
Format:  Podcast Novel
Running Time:  11.8 Hours
Author\Novel Website:  www.scottsigler.com
Podcast Feed:  http://www.podiobooks.com/title/infected/feed
Print Status:  Published by “Crown”
Theme Song by uncrowned
One sentence synopsis:  A strange infection drives ordinary people to kill those closest to them.

This novel is not for everyone.  To quote the author it has “Mature situations, Language, and lots and LOTS of violence.”   He is not exaggerating about any of that.  The novel has quite simply some of the most grotesque scenes that I have ever heard described.  Just when you think the story can’t possibly get any more disturbing he always finds a way to turn up the dial and not just a little notch.  On the narrating disturbing scenes scale of 1-10 Scott Sigler likes to crank it up to 12.  So if you are squeamish or easily offended than this is not the story for you.  If however you have no problem with violence than read on to see what you have in store.

The nature of this story brings out the worst depravity in the infected individuals.  Child murder, abuse of females, and self mutilation are all components of this story.  Each is done with a purpose though and is needed to continue pushing the story towards its conclusion.  Scott does a well enough job bringing you into the head of one particular infected man who has been driven insane that you have to wonder about the mind capable of these concepts.  I like to think that I could disturb readers in this manor if I chose to do so, but for the sake of my own sanity would be relieved to discover that I could not.  Being able to play with these themes though is a trademark of Siglers writing and I have yet to find someone who does it better.

The story itself is fairly deep.  There is a plan and a plot for this infection and it develops throughout the entire novel without ever giving too much away.  You can piece together more than the characters can with the information provided and at times that leaves you wanting to scream at them for coming to the wrong conclusions.  The larger picture is still as big of a reveal to the listeners as it is to the characters.  Also do not expect every question to be answered here.  There are multiple novels in this setting and the print version of Contagious which is a direct sequel made it to 33 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

From a technical standpoint this podiobook is very well produced.   The sound quality is crystal clear and unlike many podiobooks there are no instances of a repeated sentence making it past the editing phase.  It would be particularly disappointing if this had not been the case as this version of the podiobook is a revised addition and not his first release.

I have said quite a few good things about this podcast, but there is one bad thing that you need to know going in.  Scott Sigler does the worst female voices of anyone I have heard podcasting.  This never took away from the story for me, but it does at time feel like you are watching a friend embarrass himself.  I didn’t think his female voices could possibly get any worse and then he did a female child and I knew that I had been wrong.  I do appreciate the effort he puts into his voices and that each character sounds different.  Sometimes though; it is difficult to tell if a character is supposed to be male, female, or an Ogre of some kind.  Just to be clear this is a modern day setting and there are no intended Ogres.  I have a hard time finding many of his voices believable in the beginning, but either he gets better after doing the character for a while or I just adapt because within a few chapters it doesn’t bother me anymore.  This is also not limited to this podiobook and actually he did a much better with his voices here than I had heard him previously do.

There is a reason that Scott Sigler is one of the most popular Podiobook authors, has made it to 33 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and has Infected optioned for a movie.  His stories are strong and his characters are stronger.  He crafts a story that builds upon itself and does not need to make sharp plot turns to keep the readers hooked.  They are much more straight forward than many of the novels I have listened to, but not simplistic in any way.  If you can handle the disturbing nature of his stories you will be rewarded with hours of entertainment from one of the most energetic individuals I have ever heard take the mic.  He is so charismatic and funny that just listening to him read “the story so far” on one chapter of Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps made her want to read my copy of that book.  When it comes to podiobooks if you are going to listen to them Scott Sigler’s Infected is in my top 5.

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