Review of Peter Clines’ “The Junkie Quatrain”
The Junkie Quatrain consists of four short stories that are intermingled much like Quentin Tarantino did when he crafted Pulp Fiction, and even Resevoir Dogs. Each story has characters that pop up in the other stories, and reading all four brings them all together nicely. Of course, it is important to note that you can read them in any order, and in fact, while they naturally appear in a certain order in the ebook format, the author encourages you to roll the dice when you decide which story to read first, second, third, and fourth and I tend to agree with that recommendation.
To give a brief synopsis, these stories take place about six months after the start of a viral plague that turns its victims into jittering, verbally mush mouthed monsters that twitch and move around like their drug addicts-thus the nickname “junkies”. Since this is in the vein of ‘infected’ or ‘zombie’ tales, they are also ravenous and go nuts when they see the uninfected. It should be noted that they also attack each other on occasion-they travel in packs, and some seem to be set upon by members of these packs. This includes the injured and the weak.
The four stories found here were used separately as additional audio tales for the author’s novels when they were transformed into their audio versions. Together, they amount to a novella, and one that reads fast and with an incredible amount of energy to them all. In my humble opinion they fit together perfectly, with each additional tale adding layers to one complete and complex story that takes place over the course of a couple of days in an apocalypse torn LA. One story deals with a woman who is a loner trying to find a place off the streets and away from the junkies, though she has a certain amount of admiration for the creatures and their ability to work together in packs. Another story deals with ‘Outsiders’ who are willing to go out into the world to gather supplies for those who hide away in barricaded fortresses to protect themselves from the junkies. The third tale is of a young doctor and top virologist who is called to LA by the government to help find a cure for this plague, though things aren’t quite that simple. The final story tells of a man who once made his living as an assassin, but now just has a bone to pick with some folks who decided to steal a prized possession of his from one of his hideouts in LA.
Peter Clines has done a bang up job with both his Zombie/superhero novels and appears to have outdone himself here, with each of these tasty apocalyptic tidbits.
You can find The Junkie Quatrain here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Junkie-Quatrain-ebook/dp/B006XJW1AE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1330142571&sr=1-1