Simon Clark's Blood Crazy
by Monica J. O'Rourke
Seventeen-year-old Nick Aten wakes up one morning to find his world turned upside down. His parents - in fact, everyone over the age of nineteen - have gone mad and are killing their own children. Fleeing this insanity, Nick takes us on a journey of survival, relaying the events through his young eyes. Witness unspeakably brutal acts of homicide - inexplicable, unprovoked and unrelenting.
Along his travels he meets Sarah, a young woman as strong-willed and independent as Nick. It's refreshing to find female characters so strongly written. Handled by another writer, Sarah might have been a soppy, weepy mess waiting to be rescued.
Clark's writing is sparse; the one thing he won't be accused of is so-called purple prose, but he manages to paint a picture so vividly we can feel the emotions of the scene, we breathe the same air as the characters. Clark's brutal style of storytelling is compelling, and once you're hooked, there's no escape.
At times, the story seemed a bit far-fetched. While I could perfectly imagine Nick's parents suddenly waking one day with an overwhelming desire to maim their children, I was unable to understand Nick's motivations for heading to his local McDonald's immediately after witnessing the brutal death of his close friend. Somehow I didn't believe Nick would have a "Big Mac attack" right then and there.
A string of similar events at the beginning of the novel made me wonder just what exactly Clark was trying to get away with. After reading NAILED FROM THE HEART I became a Clark fan, and I was dismayed that he was resorting to such strange, almost lazy methods, seemingly for the sake of convenience. I was beginning to feel cheated.
But! he just as quickly brings us back on track. What works so very well in BLOOD CRAZY is the transformation of the young protagonist Nick Aten, the strength his character develops, the metamorphosis from spoiled teen to leader of his society.
The plot is rich and meaty and satisfying, and it keeps you hooked until its satisfying conclusion.