Once again, Craig DiLouie has me comparing his work to HP Lovecraft’s stories, and Lovecraft is looking really tame compared to The Infection series. I hate waiting for sequels, but this one was worth it. I had stated in a previous review that I wouldn’t want to find myself in DiLouie’s world; The Killing Floor went one step further and gave me nightmares – specifically, the hoppers…and that’s just one of many mutated creatures resulting from the viral outbreak. DiLouie’s abominations have a bigger presence this time around, allowing more creativity with the plot.
While the original novel focused on six specific survivors trying to find a safe refuge, with a theme of people turning into monsters figuratively & literally, The Killing Floor dives further into the psyches of several returning characters, as well as a few new ones. This helped prevent any stereotypes from forming, and dug into the heart of the destruction. The devastated landscapes pale in comparison to the traumatized survivors, and only a couple of months have passed since the day of The Screaming, which has many characters doubting their ability to keep going for much longer.
DiLouie introduces a new twist, with Ray suffering a hopper sting, giving more insight into the actual mutation process; I’m not going into details about Ray’s part in the sequel, but he is THE key character, tying everyone’s fate together. The aspect of Ray’s struggle had me wondering if Todd (the kid who survived a zombie bite in book one) might play a more important role in the third book. I enjoyed the new angles that DiLouie explored with the infected, the mutations and the theories on the source of the original virus. Travis is the scientist with a unique theory, backed up by tiny details that I almost missed, and I hope he is given more scenes in the future. Travis seemed more realistic any of the others, even throwing up in a garbage can at the suggestion of nuclear strike.
If the author continues along this avenue, I have no doubt that the third book will be the most exciting of the three. Last year I said that Craig DiLouie was one of my top picks that had set the standard for horror in 2011 – he just raised the bar for 2012. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Tooth and Nail as well.