If there’s one thing I can say to William Todd Rose it’s well done. Well done mate, well done.
Reading The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is a rush, there’s no other way to describe it. Set in two time lines, the story follows the consciousness of Bosley Coughlin, a druggy able to cross the plains of existence and see, not only into the past, but into the future through what he calls the Eye of Aeons. On one of these trips into the future he encounters Ocean, a young girl trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic city where zombies roam the streets and people had waged war for something as simple as food. Merely a passenger in her mind, Bosley can offer her no assistance and is forced to watch as she struggles to survive. Helpless and frustrated, he constantly returns to his own time, trying to think of a way in which to help her. It is during such a day that he encounters Clarice Hudson, a store clerk who is starting to show one of the seven symptoms associated with the infected…
Where to begin? This book is captivating and combines all the elements of horror, science fiction and suspense. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down and finished it in less than an afternoon. The story plays off in two settings, Ocean’s which is written in third person and Bosley’s which is set up like a first person narrative. Every second chapter is dedicated to either one or the other, building suspense in such a way that would leave you trapped between the idea of rushing through the first chapter to find out what was happening in the second or calmly reading the one that you’re busy with because you want to know what’s happening there as well. Like Bosley, the reader is torn between two worlds, the one where you’re trying to understand what could’ve caused such a catastrophe and the other living with the consequences of it. Rose’s writing style is comfortable and easy to follow so once you get the pace of it; it’s almost like being rushed down a stream towards a raging waterfall…
In the beginning, the sections with Bosley are hard to make out. The man is a typical junkie, his sentences filled with phrases like: “You know man…” ect ect. Like a typical stoned junkie as well, he can ramble on for quite a bit, musing about the cosmos and being all philosophical about things that you really don’t want to hear about right now. But, once you move past chapter 1 and you realize that his sections are essentially a conversation with you the reader, it makes everything fall into place. Ocean’s bits rounds this off nicely and I was relieved to realize that not the whole book was written in this slang type jargon.
If there is one thing that I love more than zombie bashing it’s a post-apocalyptic impression of the world. Why? Because it exposes the true nature of man or rather, it will expose the true nature of man. Rose’s book gives you a glimpse of it and in a strange way upholds some truths that I have come to realize about humanity. That regardless of where we find ourselves, there will always be those in need of support, there will always be those who give it, there will be heroes, there will be cowards and, in the darkest hour, ones true nature will show itself. That amidst the ruins of humanity we will truly find out what that word means. And, perhaps, that it doesn’t mean exactly what we think it does. Rose’s impression of the world is tangible and intriguing, his characters solid and his plot complete.
The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is a ride, one that will leave you breathless and begging for more.