Release Date: 04/08/11
They took the job to escape the world
They didn't expect the world to end.
Kasker Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home.
But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands.
The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way...
Whenever you get a new author they have to hit you with something pretty hard to get you to sit up and pay attention to them and with so many authors relying on sales thanks to a sample chapter online then you really have to make sure that it not only piques the readers interest but also demonstrates the type of thing that the book will contain throughout.
Sadly for me, the sample piece of this title was the first few pages entitled Fat Girl, which had I read online prior to receiving the book, meant that I wouldn’t have bothered ordering it. As for me, the whole page and a half sequence about this character was not only offensive but unnecessary for the plot over all. Likewise I also took offence at a sequence later in the title where the author decided that the suicide method for this character would be her eating Ice-Cream laced with Pain killers which, was not only annoying but also, from a practical point of view stupid.
That said, I decided to stick with it and see where the tale went. What happened was a slick, fast paced story set on a rig in the Arctic with a skeleton crew of a dozen team members who realise from a few scrambled TV images that the world has succumbed to a pandemic which whilst frightening was not their prime concern as their supply vessel has not shown up. This leads to greater concern when what they think of as a “Ghost” ship is sighted and as they explore they learn of three thousand infected inhabiting the lower decks whilst the crew quarters are relatively intact and protected due to the defensive barricades erected by the now missing crew.
At this point the tale takes a familiar twist to many aficionados of the Zombie film as the Rig’s crew set about enacting a sequence straight out of Dawn of the Dead by looting the ship of luxuries such as alcohol, DVD’s and food, living the high life in the crews quarters. This helps the characters to grow on you and whilst I’m sure that in dire circumstances things happen I felt that the coupling sequences were unneeded and really didn’t help the story move along. Add to this some plot holes such as those created by Nikki that just didn’t make sense and an unclear timeline which left you unsure if it happened over days, weeks or even months which in a disaster type tale really is important for the reader.
Overall this story was a solid read as well as a great debut and when you add a brave choice by the author that was reminiscent of an early Shaun Hutson with a hint of Captain Oates, made this a wonderful way to spend my time. Personally I would have given this tale a full four stars had it not been sadly for the whole use of the “fat” sequences within but that said it has not put me off this writer and I’ll definitely look for more by this author. I wish him success in future endeavours.