A brand new Lockdown review!

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

Post by Lockdown.

The story opens with a young journalist facing the prospect of losing her job, due to a joke e-mail with a Youtube attatchment about a zombie story sent to her boss, rather than the office beau Jake, who she had her eye on. Leah Watton seems to be ill at ease in her workplace, and finds a lot of the work mundane. She dreams of bigger and better things, but now, due to the slip up, is distracted by the thought of being sacked by her humourless boss Jamie. When he does look at the e-mail, he questions Leah about it, and leaves the matter curiously unfinished, perhaps as a means of punishing her with her own anxiety. She spends the following few days worrying, but as there seems to be no immediate price to pay for her transgression, she turns her thoughts to her own self image, and the crush she has on Jake. At a party she connives at getting close to him, managing to fend of a potential rival, and winning a shared walk home which ends with a kiss, which, she feels, is a perfect moment that nothing will destroy.

The next day, while dealing with a hangover, a mysterious telephone call disturbs her, and raises the subject of the zombie story e-mail, asking whether she was the one who ‘found it’. The caller harrasses her, exacerbating her nausea, and she is physically sick. Realising that she will be working with Jake that weekend, and the sweet note the night before ended on, she puts the caller to the back of her mind, imagining him to be a trickster intent on exploiting her foolish actions of the previous day. At work though, there is a buzz in the air, as Leah discovers that the supposedly joke story has some scientific fact behind it, and Jamie, who believes it relates to a real and dangerous virus, has run it on the news as a real scoop.

Still worried that she has been a fool in mistakenly disseminating the zombie video, she takes a closer look at it, and discovers it reveals the incredible view that there is in fact a zombie virus spreading, and the youtube link goes into depth about the problems it is causing. Leah is in shock and disbelief, surely it cannot be true, surely it must be a conspiracy by governments to control people. To make matters worse, national newspapers have unfavourably named Leah as the source for the story, and a combination of paranoia and disinformation creep into Leah’s workplace, and into the wider public. She becomes the victim of a rapacious paparazzi, and shuts herself away, imagining the repercussions to her name among her family and friends.

Leah is convinced that she needs some time away in order not to succumb to the mental break drown slowly brewing inside her. She makes plans to spend time with her family, and decides to stop off at the office and offer an apology for the consternaion she has caused, when her friend and colleague Michelle says that the zombie virus, or AM13 as it is known, was very real indeed. Seeing Jake again, and still feeling drawn to him, she is sucked back into the storyline that she has inadvertently started. A note on her computer from Jamie asks her to see him, and he reveals that the story has done wonders for their news organisation’s ratings. Although her company is now perceived as cutting edge, the reality is that a national quarantine is going to be put into effect, and that there is going to be total lockdown of free movement in the country.

As the lockdown looms, Leah is caught in the drama of being centre stage as a member of a prominent media outlet, and the seemingly banal response to what is ostensibly a threat to liberty; people carry on with their Facebook lives, posting pictures of pizza they have eaten or a kitten stuck in a box (this book, with it’s frequent references to social media etc., is very much of its time). Slowly but surely, the action moves from the veiled threat of a public lockdown replete with zombie like virus sufferers, to the real thing. Sands makes the transition convincingly, as the threat becomes a real horror story, and there is a sense of panic permeating the writing. That panic and paranoia build incrementally as the tale unfolds. Now trapped in a horror fantasy many will have subconsciously felt in dreams or day dreams, the protagonists are concerned solely with survival. In the classic vein of a zombie story, Sands conjours images worthy of a George A Romero movie, with dead eyed zombie types roaming mindlessly, and the book will satisfy afficionados of the genre.

Sands’ heroine, Leah, is very much a modern creature, lurching from day-dream to disgruntlement, at times amoral, but also with a yearning for old fashioned romance. It would ill become a review to give away the grand finale, let us just say it is both torturous and gory, and with an added familial  taboo that should certainly leave the reader wincing with a sense of disgust, in the way a decent horror story worth its salt ought to.


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