I've written this review over and over for the past few hours, trying to do justice to multi-talented author Eloise J. Knapp and her newest novel, PULSE. When she offered me an advanced reader copy, I knew I was in for something special. I've been a fan of hers ever since my husband gifted me The Undead Situation. It was her debut novel, and I was immediately floored by her realism. She wrote like she knew the weapons and tactics intimately. Anyone who has casually perused her Facebook page or her official website will see that the realism comes from experience. Eloise believes in being prepared, and that sincerity makes her stories and characters all the more interesting. In addition to writing, Eloise makes her own costumes for cosplay, creates videos on YouTube, and makes some of the most mouth-watering foods you could hope to see show up on your Facebook feed! To top it all off, she's also extremely humble and friendly.
The Undead Situation gave rise to Cyrus V. Sinclair, a sociopath with an all-consuming sweet tooth. He and his ferret companion are fine riding out the apocalypse in their apartment, until a few unexpected human guests spoil the party. Once outside of the cozy apartment, Cyrus finds that all the fun has gone out of the apocalypse. The Undead Haze continues, and Cyrus gains a conscience as he attempts to deal with the events of the first book. As per fan request, Eloise teamed up with Timothy Long, writing the free Internet serial Dead Haze. Dead Haze sees Cyrus team up with Kate, Timothy's own sociopathic survivor.
About a month ago, Eloise sent me an advanced reader copy of her new novel, PULSE. I read it in three days. Instead of mindless shambling horrors, Eloise gives us something that hits closer to home. Once infected, her zombies are cunning, violent, and absolutely no-holds-barred crazy. The infection makes the dead clumsy, but it also intensifies their baser instincts and desires, and that is where the true horror is born. Eloise shows the reader a funhouse mirror, where humanity's reflection shines back dark and perverse. The infection takes everything good about humanity and twists it - doctors, the bastions of salvation - become architects of pain and misery. The laughter of a child falls cold and hollow on a terrified mother's ears. Each page brings fresh new obstacles for already beleaguered characters.
PULSE showcases Eloise's continued growth as a writer. Her earlier works concentrate on a few characters, and she writes them very well. However, in PULSE, Eloise stretches her writing muscles and gives us a greater range. The reader experiences the story from the point of view of patient zero, the scientists racing the clock to fix the infection, a group of friends watching society fall apart, and asylum inmates who become newly rejuvenized by the chaos. Each character has their own unique voice and mannerisms, which make them all the more realistic. The plot races along gathering momentum until the end, which is abrupt and deeply disturbing. I am sooo hoping that she writes a sequel!
What impressed me most of all, is the sense that no character is truly safe in PULSE. I don't like books that I can predict, because I quickly stop caring. If I know who is going to survive, and who isn't, there's really no point in reading, is there? Eloise infects and saves with reckless and random abandon. Characters that I thought would surely last to the end of the book were turned into the violent hordes within pages, while others that I was sure were no more than fodder hung on stubbornly.
With every page PULSE is sure to frighten, delight, and keep the reader guessing! You need to add it to your collection IMMEDIATELY - and when you're done, be sure to drop by amazon.com and give it a review!