by Tamara Jones
Review by Gayle Surrette
Samhain Publishing Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781619229778
Date: 02 June 2015 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Spore, by Tamara Jones, is not what you'd expect from a book where the blurb on the back starts off with, "The dead are coming back." Expectations on the part of the reader are often fodder for the author to toy with, but Jones just plays it straight. Sean Casey looks up to find naked adults walking out of the Christmas Tree farm that abuts his property. They seem like perfectly ordinary people and, at first, he thinks there must have been a horrific accident on the other side of the farm since they seem disoriented.
He calls the police department and, while waiting for them, realizes that these people just might have been people who died. Of course, the immediate thought is that this is some sort of scam. Except one of the people who walked out of the trees is his long dead uncle Paul.
With the premise set, the story unravels. Sean is a graphic novel artist and he's on deadline for their final issue. Still he can't let things go. He sees the return of these people as a miracle, but others see them as an abomination to be killed immediately. Others people are somewhere along that spectrum of belief.
Once of the women comes back to his house and asks to stay with him, since she has nowhere else to go. We then learn of the problems that these people have as they're dead, but now alive, and yet have no standing under law. Sean and his girlfriend are not the kind of people to not get involved or to turn their backs on someone who needs help.
Something else is happening, concurrent with the appearance of these people who have returned from the dead. Children are being taken. Sean is having nightmares again. What's happening? Can't say more without spoiling it for you. However, it's a complicated, creepy, twisty, quite dark story of obsession, revenge, greed, and science gone awry. One of the best stories I've read this year -- dark, solid, well plotted, with fully developed characters you begin to care about, which makes this novel almost impossible to put down.