Saturday, February 11, 2012

Afraid by Jack Kilborn

I'm in a bit of a funk lately, mostly due to an extreme amount of stress at work.   Therefore, when I reach for my Kindle, or my remote, I'm sort of wanting to avoid any intense thought or concentration.  Therefore, I've been doing a lot of re-reads and re-watches, not to mention zoning out in front of mindless reality television.

I read Afraid sometime last year, when I was plowing through Kilborn/Konrath books at lightning speed.  Although I favored Trapped and Endurance (both of which I apparently remembered to write reviews about) Afraid was pretty damn good as well.  So in my re-read stage, I decided I'd give it another go and actually write a review this time.

Afraid involves some characters from other Kilborn works, most notably Taylor from Truck Stop, Serial, and Trapped.  Both Kilborn/Konrath and Blake Crouch's books have characters that move in and out of them, as some books take place before others and vice versa.  This particular book focuses on a special ops unit that has crashed into a small Wisconsin town.  The unit is programmed to achieve a specific objective, by any means necessary.  The group consists of various death row and psychiatric hospital escapees who have been modified to conform to these standards.  They've been enhanced both physically and mentally, being able to withstand extreme amounts of pain, as well as causing it.

Afraid involves many "townspeople" characters, and jumps back and forth between the viewpoints of different people.  The characters were well-developed, and Konrath/Kilborn showcases his incredible talent for providing detail, especially in terms of the violent parts of the story, of which there were many.  The plot has a lot of moving parts, but I didn't find it difficult to keep track of.  There are several components to the story -- from thriller to extreme horror to military history.  Definitely not a read for the squeamish -- the toe scenes and kidney-mauling definitely got to me -- but this one is classic Kilborn/Konrath, so check it out if you're a fan.