This isn’t just a story about a dystopian world, though, and that is probably what lifts this book out of the quagmire of its competition and sets it apart from other dystopian novels. There is a real thread of reality that runs through this story – that of addiction. Many of the characters have some form of addiction they have been struggling against, whether it be; alcohol, drugs, sex or whatever. As the tale unfolds they are forced to face what they have become and what they will require to do to fit into this brave, new, world, once the illness has run its course. The story is very character heavy, with many arcs, covering differing situations, yet all linked by the pandemic and by their addictions.
The main two characters are Drew, an alcoholic, whose wife and daughter had left him just prior to the pandemic taking hold. Drew had travelled to Florida to visit his dying Mother as the virus struck and is desperate to get back home to Boston and try to win back his family and Steve a recovering heroin Addict who has found God and wants to help Drew to find his way out of the labyrinth of hell he has descended into. Throw in a good mixture of other well-drawn characters and you have an exciting, fast-paced story full of twists and turns.
Addiction and Pestilence is the first in a series of stories and I think it is probably the greatest compliment I can pay author, Edmund Kelly, to say that I am inspired and desirous of reading the next instalment to discover what happens next to Drew and Steve on their epic road (and rail) journey back to Boston and back to what is left of civilisation. An excellent read from and author I’d not discovered before. A full five-stars for this story.