Wednesday 27 May 2015

REVIEW: Tamara Jones - Spore

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: 2nd June 2015
Pages: 301


A copy of Spore was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Tamara Jones in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain Publishing.

I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but, I have seen the name Tamara Jones floating around but I never read her stuff before. I can only ask myself why the hell not. I will be rectifying that mistake by adding more of Mrs Jones to my ever growing “To Be Read” pile.

Sean Casey is an artist. He draws the pictures for a comic called Ghoulbane. On a normal day he takes a break from his sketching and goes to his back yard for a breather. One after another, ten random people appear out of nowhere and walk onto his property. They are all naked and confused.

It transpires these people are all dead and have been for varying amounts of time. Something has happened to the water by the local cemetery and they have all “Spored”. Brought back from the dead in perfect condition, better, in fact, than they were when they died.

Sean has to try and deal with this phenomenon the best way he can. He finds fame from television interviews he gave. He finds scorn when he allows Mindy, one of the Spore’s to move into his house until she can get settled and rebuild her “life”. He finds violence when Mindy’s ex tries to put her back underground. He finds constant torture from his nightmares about his troubled childhood. Old evils come to life again. Quite literally. Who will survive? The living or the dead?

Think zombie story. Now scrap that and think of a zombie story with a difference. Living, breathing zombies that are trying to earn their place back in society. Do they deserve it? Should they be scorned? This story raises a lot of questions about our society in general. What we believe in. What we have faith in. What, some you may consider to be insane, believe in. Interesting? It is when it’s told as masterfully as this.

Tamara Jones has created a story that turns most zombie / horror stories on their heads. It is a fascinating idea. It’s been done before where alien species have come to earth and tried to integrate into “our” society. What is it like though for someone to literally come back from the dead trying to catch up with technology? Trying to deal with friends and family who have died while they were dead? Trying to deal with living relatives that want nothing to do with them, believing it’s all just one big con? Mix this in with murder, growing disease, years old secrets and vicious, evil people and you have a story that is gripping from the first page right to the last.

Characters wise in this book? Brilliant. All of them. Our main character, Sean is just a normal guy trying to make a living to keep his head above water and keep his girlfriend Mare. They fit together so well. Sean’s mother? I just wanted to slap her at the beginning. By about three quarters of the way through I wanted to punch and kick her. The spore Mindy? I just wanted to cuddle her and tell her everything would be ok. Other smaller characters all have their own gifts to bring to the story. The policeman Todd who grows as the story grows into a man you would trust with your life and cheer to the end. Sean’s uncle Paul, also a spore is quite possibly one of the most hateful characters I have ever read but again, his role fits perfectly into the story.

I really do not want to tell you much more about the plot itself. I must admit I wondered what you could possibly do with this sort of scenario but, believe me, Tamara Jones does it perfectly. This book has thrills and spills. It has murder. It has zombies. It has intrigue. It has disgustingly harrowing scenes that at times made me feel sick to my stomach but they just added to the story and the level of hatred you will end up feeling for one of the characters.

Is it horror? This is my only negative. I didn’t find it that scary. But, and this is a big but, I mean scary in the jump out of your seat or hide behind a cushion type of scary. It is scary in so many other ways though. When you sit back and think about what is actually happening as the story progresses, your mind works overtime in trying to figure out how you would deal with things. Above all for me this is a very thrilling read.

To summarise: honestly? Just buy it when it comes out. You will love it. When I do my end of year list of favourite books, this will definitely be in it.

General rating:

★★★★★ Perfect story.

Horror rating:

★★★ Could have been a lot scarier for me.

You can buy Spore here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Synopsis:

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. Sean struggles to protect Mindy and other Spores while battling his recurring—and worsening—nightmares. Meanwhile, the media feeds a panicked frenzy that leads both the hopeful and hateful to Sean’s front door.

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.

Tamara started her academic career as a science geek, earned a degree in art, and, when she's not making quilts or herding cats, writes tense thrillers as Tamara Jones and the award-winning Dubric Byerly Mysteries series (Bantam Spectra), as Tamara Siler Jones. Despite the violent nature of her work, Tam's easygoing and friendly. Not sick or twisted at all. Honest.

Tamara is represented by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

You can see more of Tamara at her website.

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