All Fall Down brings us back up to date with Kate Maddox, who was first revealed in Catch Your Death. I actually thought that the basic plotline was very similar - it's another story of biological terrorism with the bad guys unleashing a highly contagious killer virus on the world that Kate has to try and conquer - but with the central character being a virologist, I suppose it's inevitable to cover the same ground to begin with. It also means that if you haven't read the first book in the series, you'll still be able to enjoy All Fall Down as a stand-alone novel.
The story is fast-paced and action-packed, especially as it builds to a crescendo in the final chapters. Just as when you watch a Hollywood blockbuster you know that the hero is going to win against all odds, you just know that Kate will manage to turn things around and stop the world being decimated before the end of the novel, but the actions of the scary, gun-toting, Egyptian goddess-worshipping female terrorists and the will-they-won't-they suspense of ordinary people trying to survive in extraordinary circumstances keep you turning the pages with bated breath.
I was slightly perturbed by Kate's willingness to drop her son off at her ex husband's house for the summer while she headed off to the secret lab to try to find a cure for the killer virus. I have memories of him from the first book as being a particularly nasty piece of work and Kate fleeing the abusive relationship, so surely she wouldn't want to leave her son with him for a prolonged period, even he is her son's dad. Similarly, the dad's readiness to leave his son with the neighbour who he knows has a bit of a drug habit left me rolling my eyes at the parenting and thinking less of them - not great when you're supposed to be rooting for them to survive as modern day post-acopalpttic heroes !
It's a well-crafted novel and I'm still impressed at how seamlessly the authors manage to put their separately-written prose together. It's not always realistic - Kate is a bit of a white-coated superheroine ready to save the world single-handedly and always comes out on top without a scratch, even when she has several guns pointed at her head and no way out - but it's an enjoyable read, full of suspense and excitement.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £6.99
- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Harper (14 Feb 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007460724
- ISBN-13: 978-0007460724
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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