I have been meaning to pick this book up for a while now, yet every time I thought I had put aside some spare time, to really give it the attention that it deserved, something has managed to crop up to prevent it. Eventually, I managed to pick it up and pretty much devoured it in one go, I truly struggled to put it down, it really is that gripping.
When a friendly basketball match at Camp Bland; a military training facility in Florida, goes wrong and 67 soldiers are butchered by just a few men, questions are asked and the sinister reality behind a secret government project; Project Apex begins to unfold.
Tracing back from a new breed of monkey found in the Kongo, Richard Draven discovers the Timika Tribe. A tribe that seemingly, has amazing immunity to ilness.
Scientist; Robert Genaro is tasked with researching and developing cell regeneration, the plan, to create the perfect soldier. A soldier that is impervious to pain or cold. One that doesn't require food or sleep, is mentally superior and doesn't age. Perfect for the modern military, right? Wrong.
The serum is a virus, it acts upon its host like a parasite, increasing aggresion levels and testosterone to dangerous levels; roid rage.
It quickly becomes apparent that the virus is contagious, it can be spread via saliva or blood, bringing the world a whole new threat of terror.
A rogue team of soldiers, led by Joshua Cook, become hell bent on developing a new age of evolution, they kidnap Genaro and infect him to help them develop the virus; to become an enhanced level of civilisation. A civilisation no longer plagued with death, disease or hunger.
As the story unfolds, Joshua intends to share his 'gift' with the world, he loses any interest in his own mortality and his arrogance forces American President; Ron Fitzgerald into action.
So, what did I think of the story? I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. It is told from various locations from all around the world, with aspects from many different characters; Government officials, scientists, soldiers, two young Iraqi brothers. Even the cleaner from Genaro's lab gets in on the dialogue to share his theories from beneath his tin foil hat.
The size, and scale of the story must have taken absolutely ages to map out and research. What's impressive, is that at no point does Bray attempt to make any shortcuts with the story development or dialogue. Its all in there, in abundance.
I have read another book involving 'enhanced' military personnel; Afraid, by Jack Kilborn. I was interested as I began this book to see how the similarities would pan out. There were none, it was taken in a totally different, and somewhat unexpected direction.
This is a monumental project for Bray, it sees him making that transition from his previous day job to full time author. You can see from Project Apex that he has been using his time constructively. I have also noticed a trend in the subject of his last few releases, lending itself more away from the traditional horror genre and into more thrill based territory. Not that I'm complaining. Based on the quality of this book, he has nothing to fear moving forward. I, for one, applaud him for this effort. Bring on Eradication.
I would give it six if I could, but I can't. So five out of five for me. A late contender for a top three book of the year.