The Squirming by Jack Hamlyn

Readers might be familiar with some of the excellent horror fiction written by Tim Curran. In fact you’ll find several reviews on my blog. Jack Hamlyn is Curran’s alter ego, allowing him the freedom to write under a different name.

I’ll make no bones about it. This book is an action-packed gore fest. Ten pages in, you’ll have seen more slime, viscera, and general ick than most manage in 400 pages. Parasitic slugs emerged from origins unknown infecting the majority of humans in no time at all. Society has broken down and teams of exterminators in containment suits are the last line of defense to try and pull humanity back from extinction.

We follow one of the exterminator teams and get to experience their claustrophobic hunting encounters. Mistrust and rivalry within the group is a huge threat when they are so reliant on each other to watch each other’s backs and make it through each mission alive. The tension level never drops.

The lifecycle and biology of the slugs is explained, as are their methods for conquering their host. It’s really well thought out and fascinating. The popular name for the hosts of the parasitic slugs is Slughead. The host cradles the egg sack while it feeds off their body’s nutrients. What’s even worse is the gestational slugs release little slugs called Flukes that fill the body, making them a slave to the host. Slugheads are fast, always looking for more meat for their hosts, and can continue to function in limbless states. Where they came from is not known – a result of pollution, evolution? All the survivors can do is ponder.

Fans of Aliens, 28 Days Later, and especially The Thing will love this, which I’m pretty sure means everyone. There is body horror galore that Cronenberg would be proud of. This book is non-stop action at a feverish pace – apocalyptic horror at its best. I’d also say we get the best mall situation since Dawn of the Dead.

9/10

Book Cover Blurb

You are their hosts
You are their food.
The parasites came out of nowhere, squirming horrors that enslaved the human race.They turned the population into mindless pack animals, psychotic cannibalistic hordes whose only purpose was to feed them.
Now with the human race teetering at the edge of extinction, extermination teams are fighting back, killing off the parasites and their voracious hosts. Taking them out one by one in violent, bloody encounters.
The future of mankind is at stake.
And time is running out.

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