“Quarantine Drift” by Erika LeClair

This is a great title in this day of pandemics, but since there is no real quarantine and no disease, it has nothing to do with the story.

The strength of the writing is the intense sensory input, giving us the feeling of being right there. This is perhaps overdone in some places because of the gory nature of the descriptions, but it’s impressive, nonetheless.

The intense inner conflict of the main character is also well portrayed. Carina is a tortured soul, suffering from PTSD due to a terrible experience at twelve years old of contact with an alien and the loss of her sister. To make things worse, all the therapy she gets tells her that her memory is wrong, and it never happened. Including the sister. Her overwhelming need to validate her memories and find her beloved sister drives the plot.

The plot line is well conceived and executed, and the scientific concept involved is complicated, but described in enough detail that it is believable and understandable.

Unfortunately, the writing style is rather slap-dash, with numerous minor errors that any good editor should pick up.

First, it is loose in the factual details. The helicopter breaks down through the fog and into sunlight below. Not impossible, but not likely. Solar panels cover every roof, but she then talks about shingled roofs. There is drifting fog and greenery, but next thing they burst into “scalding August air.” Soon after, the air is “cool and refreshing.”

Also, there are sentence structure problems of the “Going to the store, a deer jumped in front of me,” type, and singular/plural errors like ““Mounted to the top of each was a six-foot-long cannon, the green light of their cores glowing within the bulky barrels.”

And then we come to the final conflict, which lasts for a full quarter of the book, pausing only once for the two antagonists to have a philosophical argument that lasts far too long.

Then we are once again bathed in an orgy of blood and mangled bodies, crashing architecture, and exploding everything, a pornography of violence that goes on and on until we have lost all sense of suspense.

Recommended for those with strong stomachs and a love of emotion and violence.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery.

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