Highway Twenty by Michael J Moore

An engineer from out of town disappears.Then Conor Mitchell’s girlfriend. Then his parents. The townspeople of Sedrow Woolley, Washington are vanishing at a horrifying rate. But they come back. They all come back days later, and they’re different: Hungry. Insectile. Creatures posing as humans. Because Conor knows the truth, and because the entire police force has already been changed, and because there’s nowhere to run from an evil that only wants to spread, his sole option is to fight. But they have no intention of letting him leave town.

My Review

Take a bit of Camus’ La Peste and a bit of Alien and a bit of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde stir them together through the sense of humor of a talented horror writer and you get something like this.

Which is to say this is a book that doesn’t always know what it’s trying to do or where its coming from but is a great read none the less so who cares about the rest?

A little town has been invaded by horrible alien creatures that eat human beings – a LOT of human beings.  They seem to eat all the time. Some humans they just eat and others they lay their eggs in and when their not at all cute baby aliens hatch they take over some parts of the personality and use the human as a vehicle or a disguise or something.  I wasn’t quite sure how this worked I would have like a few diagrams… Anyway after a while the whole town is crawling with aliens who look like people and it’s getting worse by the day.

Weaving through this unexpectedly compelling monster story there’s a nicely written romance between the central character and his girlfriend – living or undead but let’s not throw in vampires as they never improve a story.  Their love affair definitely isn’t the stuff of Mills & Boon in fact it made me a bit queasy but this was offset by the brilliant depiction of a relationship that seemed disconcertingly like the kind that actually happen in the world.  I like to think this author will go far but if writing horror stories doesn’t prove lucrative he could probably make a reasonable living giving master classes in writing dialogue.

There’s always a problem with a plague novel knowing how to end it because in the end most plagues just fizzle out and where’s the excitement in THAT?  In this story the ending is OK but I was hoping for something more ingenious.  Or that packed a bit more of a punch.  So read the book for the middle and the build up.  Those are the bit you’ll remember afterwards.

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