Book review

Blood Hunters by Steve Voake (2009)

We need scientists. True or False?

Well, true, obviously. Planet Earth has a vast human population and science helps us to produce enough food and energy for everyone. Science makes fantastic progress in medicine. Science explores the universe and everything in it.

Marvellous. But sometimes we have to ask ourselves whether scientists are up to the job. They are only human after all. Take this one for instance:

Kneeling down on the warm earth, he watched in wonder as a green, jelly-like substance oozed from the tiny gap between earth and metal, wriggling its way across the surface of the sub towards him.
He was about to shout for the others to come back and see his discovery when something stopped him. Perhaps it was the worry, somewhere at the back of his mind, that the others might take it away from him. Perhaps it was the thought that, finally, his chance had come to make his mark on the world. But whatever the reason, William Sims took a spatula and a small plastic specimen jar from his pocket, unscrewed the lid and flicked the squirming object into it.

Poor move, as it happens. He'll be dead in a few days time. That little squidgy thing that he's spotted and popped into a specimen jar has teeth, feeds on blood, and grows at a terrifying rate.

Of course, when his body is found in the lab nobody knows what could have happened because he kept his scientific discovery secret. That's bad luck for his colleague, Martin McDonald, Joe's dad. Martin McDonald is arrested for murder.

So it's down to Joe and his friend Giles to sort the mess out. They have to work out what's going on, survive their encounters with the terrifying predators and get Joe's dad off the hook. It's actually quite a scary read:

It happened so fast that Joe didn't even have time to shout a warning. As the water erupted, a dark shape shot past them, twisted through the air and hit Joe's dad in the side of the face, lifting him clean off the ground. For a split second he was airborne, then with a splash he hit the water and disappeared.
'Dad!' Joe screamed. 'Dad!'

A great read. And you'll probably read it in double quick time, like I did. That's because you'll be wanting to see these things off the planet.

What can I read next?

I think this book is brilliant, but Steve Voake has written other good stuff:

If you enjoy the business of solving really giant-sized problems that affect the whole world, you might enjoy this story by Terence Blacker:

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