Spore

A butcher, a baker, a comic book maker, a cop, a nurse, and a ghoul.

The dead are coming back.

Ten naked people walk from a cemetery into artist Sean Casey’s backyard: ten Spore People who used to be dead. One, Mindy, stays with Sean while trying to reclaim her life, but her ex would rather she return to her grave.

As the Spore fungus spreads, so does the fear. When mutilated children match Sean’s nightmares, he realizes his own worst terror may be closer than he thinks.

I was fortunate to have come across this book recently at a horror convention.  On the first read of the description, it will sound like something that has recently been done to death.  This could be The Resurrected, it could be, The Returned, or Les Revenants, but it’s not.  It is in fact the story that all of those wished they could have been.  Jones jumps right into the action, with the “Spore” people stumbling out of the woods bordering Sean Casey’s home, while he reviewing editorial changes for his latest comic, Ghoulbane.

One of the very first things I noticed about this story is how good the characters are.  From the first chapter, I was already falling in love with Sean and Mare.  They were real, interesting and vibrant.  In most fiction, characters are introduced, and it takes pages and pages, if not chapters for them to become personal to the reader.  In Spore, we find that Tamara Jones is able to draw you into her world in just a few sentences.  By the end of the first chapter, you will be genuinely hooked.

The plot builds slowly at first, but then mounts to a crescendo around the halfway point and by the last fifty pages you will be tempted to drop whatever you are doing, just to get to the end of the story.  There are some hefty sociological concepts in the story, but don’t fear, the author doesn’t drown you in mountains of detail about the implications of the Spore fungus and its effects ala Stephen King.  The joy of the book, is that even the global implications of the story are realized in the lives of Sean, Mare, Mindy, Todd, and Paul.

Yet another great aspect to this book, is the use of social media within the story.  Even in recent works, I don’t typically see stories that takes advantage of social media and smart phones the way Tamara Jones does.  One of the first thing one of the spores does when she gets settled in with Casey, is checking her facebook page. Mindy then starts blogging her experiences in much the same way any of us would now.  Another brilliant inclusion by the author, are snippets of social media posts at the beginning of each chapter, giving the reader a sneak peak into what’s happening in the world around her characters.   I found this made me feel like I was really there, while the plot developed.

Finally, the book is deliciously plotted.  The writer starts you off on a gentle introduction, drawing you in, without too many tedious details about the characters lives, the town, the science of the Spores, etc.  She just tells the story.  As it progresses, the reader is drawn more and more into the confluence of events that creates the combined miracle and mayhem, that is the Spore phenomenon.   The pace soon picks up, and by the end of the book, its a roller coaster ride worthy of any best seller.

Buy this book, tell your friends, tell your family, tell anyone who loves fiction, because Spore is equal parts, drama, romance, horror and thriller.  The serial killer angle is subtle and creepy, the drama between Mindy and her Ex is heart-rending, as well as the burgeoning romance she feels blossoming.  The building tension between Sean Casey and his uncle, who previously owned the house before he died, is extremely well done.  This book really does have a little something for everyone.  Do not miss this book.

Spore by Tamara Jones will be available in print and e-book formats on June 1, 2015.

For more information about Tamara Jones books, please visit her site: Tamara Jones.
Like her on facebook: Tamara Siler Jones or follow her on twitter: Tambo Jones.
Also, check out other great books from Samhain Publishing.

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