Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People

by William Todd Rose

I’ll be perfectly honest—I don’t like time travel stories. The few I’ve tried to read which I’ve thankfully forgotten have always been a mix of one thing or another: convoluted, nonsensical, unrealistic (in the sense that they are staying true to the times they are travelling to,) that sort of thing. That isn’t to say that all of them are like that, but The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People was not a book I would’ve willingly picked up based on its description. But given that I usually try to give all books with a unique idea a chance (especially, in this case, time travel mixed with the undead,) I decided to give it a go.

Boy, I’m glad I did.

The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People begins with a narrative that might appear as off-putting as it is interesting. Told from the perspective of whom we initially assume is a crazed druggy, the novel begins by telling us of Bosley Coughlin’s exploits with a great ‘Eye’ that shows him a vision of the distant future, which is not pretty in the least. Even he can hardly believe the idea of an America and a young girl who, at only fourteen, is struggling to survive and starving amidst the undead, but when a woman he knows begins exhibiting what he calls ‘The Seven Signs,’ the future becomes a distinct possibility, and he must do all he can to stop it.

Perhaps the most distinct and well-done thing about William Todd Rose’s The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is its ability to seamlessly transport you between not only two different characters, but two different settings. Told, as I said, partially from Bosley’s view in the present, the narrative shifts to the future where we run into Ocean, the fifteen-year-old girl whose fate our present-day narrator desperately wants to change. This presents us with an incredibly-easy and cohesive story to read. It seems like it could be two distinct tales, yet at the same time are intertwined; one plotline is so radically different in idea from another they don’t seem to make sense; and the two narrators, an older man and a young girl, seem completely unlike one another, yet here’s the thing: it’s so seamless that your subconscious allows the two to merge to make the story one. That’s no easy feat, all things considering, but Rose’s power not only lies in interconnecting plots. Suspense, here, is key. Never is a chapter ended on a cliffhanger that doesn’t make sense, and while in some cases you would rather just skip ahead to see what was going to happen, Rose wrote the suspense so deliberately that the events coincide with one another. It’s like watching two rows of dominos fall at the exact same time. The pace never falters, the dread never lets up, and the mystique of the matter continues all the way up until the end, and persists even after it.

The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is one of the best genre novels I’ve ever read. I can’t call it just sci-fi, and I can’t call it just zombie-horror, but I sure as hell can call it amazing. Five stars to this incredible work of fiction. This marks Rose as a name that has to be watched.

* * * * *
5 stars!

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Reviewer's Notation: I downloaded The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People for free on via a publisher promotion.

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