Friday, 5 July 2019

CONGEAL by John F Leonard @john_f_leonard

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I bought it when it came out, as I love this genre and very much liked this author's last book.  Then it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member, so I am reviewing it for Rosie too :)

In a Nutshell: Post apocalyptic/horror novella - nasty slimy stuff that covers the world!

Another fine novella that fits perfectly into the limited space - I do appreciate writers who understand how to use the shorter format so well.

Amelia had a happy life with a man she loved, but then the Clag arrived; now she's stuck in a deserted city with a guy she can't stand, as the nasty slimy stuff from the deep bowels of the earth rises up to swamp the world....

Having just read two post apocalyptic novels that centred round human relationships and practical survival, Congeal underlined to me how many subsections this genre has; this one is far into the 'horror' end.  Amongst its many strengths, I liked the short, sharp prose style, so appropriate for the horror and despair of Amelia's situation, though not without dry humour.  I also enjoyed that those in the group with whom she found herself trying to survive—a standard in all PA stories—were not all of the likeable, resourceful, charismatic variety, as is so often the case; Pete, Maurice, Yvonne and the others were types she would have avoided like the plague (pun intended) in real life.

A good ending, too—I had no clue about Amelia's fate, even by 95%.  Anyone who has read the author's recent novella The Bledbrooke Works will enjoy the connection between the two, but both are entirely stand alone.  Oh, and one more thing - in the flashbacks to Amelia's pre-apocalypse life, she refers to her mother as 'Mom', several times.  As she is English, living in England, and her story is written by a British author, I questioned this - out of place American English is one of my 'ouches', but apparently it's a Birmingham-Irish thing as well; just making this point in case it's one of your 'ouches', too.

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