The Killing Floor
By Craig DiLouie
The Killing Floor picks up where The Infected left off. A good percentage of the main characters are still intact. We are introduced to a couple of new key players–Ray and Travis. Travis is a doctor who manages to get aboard a helicopter to a safe compound and Ray is…
Well, Ray is sort of a typhoid Mary. If you remember the old Playstation game Parasite Eve (or even the cheesy Japanese movie), The Killing Floor is kind of like that. Ray is infected by Agent Wildfire, but rather than becoming a mindless, ferocious monster or a mutated freak, he becomes a, well, mutated freak, but only on the inside. He discovers, too late, that he can spread the infection simply by walking through the infected. He probes his new powers and finds he can control the infected, rendering them as harmless as flies or as dangerous an any army. Through a hive mind, he can strategize, and through this new power, he figure out he has something to bargain with when then remains of the government come knocking.
Anne, one of the survivors from the first book, isn’t playing that game, she’s sought revenge since day one. Ray embodies all she hates, so she swears she’ll destroy him. Travis, a doctor, is commissioned to a pure sample of the virus so a cure can be created. He wants Ray as well.
Loyalties are challenged, formed, and destroyed as the race to find Ray begins.
The Killing Floor is another excellent book from Permuted Press. I read Infection last year and loved it. DiLouie has a unique voice that stands out among other writers. The story itself is sweeping, a rush to save the world. Anne loses a little bit of reader sympathy, but Todd garners even more. There are a few romantic moments scattered through the novel, which definitely helps add hope to the story. Hope is essential in a post-apocalyptic novel, and DiLouie keeps hope alive in The Killing Floor. The readers wants Todd to find his girlfriend, they want Anne to find resolution to her pain.
Ray is an interesting character. He fluctuates from being a hateful character to one that deserves sympathy. At times you can’t help but hate him. A few pages later, you’re rooting for him. He’s a hard-drinking, wife-beating, asshole, but by time he makes it to the end of his story, he’s discovered he’s got a life-changing (world-destroying!) responsibility. He has examined himself and his life and realized this is his time, the day he was created for. For someone like him, it’s almost unimaginable.
Again, DiLouie has created a cast of strong, intelligent, well-developed characters that suck you into the story and don’t let go. The Killing Floor is a great sequel to the first book. It’s a fast, powerful journey through to the end of the world–and the beginnings of a new one.