Neil is the perfect soldier. Especially in those moments when he becomes a psychotic, ruthless killer with preprogrammed nanobots running wild inside his head. This is what makes him truly scary. That, of course, and the fact that he can come back from the dead to kill all over again.
Peter Bailey has done a superb job of creating a thriller sci-fi classic that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the books in this genre. And it’s the added zest of grimly detailed horror that permeates the entire story which, in my opinion, does the trick of giving the novel its uniquely creepy quality.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world that has seen a nuclear strike on London — which kills Neil’s wife, incidentally — Walk In the Flesh examines just how wrong things could go if overzealous scientists have their way.
There are many reasons to love this gritty read — the author’s unique gift with words and phrases chief among them:
“The slow flow of arterial blood began to spurt as the heart pumped its ten pints over the guests. Soon they would begin to scream and panic would flow through the room like a hot wind. But that did not concern Neil. By then, he would be dead. Again.”
Over and over, Neil’s handlers place him in new hosts whose sole purpose is to get near enough to a world leader to kill him — with extreme and unthinkable violence. Neil, however, retains his personal memories from one host to the next and gradually begins to go rogue.
Meanwhile, Ariana, an Iranian pathologist, is getting closer and closer to uncovering the truth behind these coldly calculated murders But, since she is a single woman in the morbidly male-dominated city of Tabriz, there’s only so much credibility she can hope to muster.
The story takes a series of wildly unpredictable turns as Neil cycles through his murderous roles, and the people he works for start trying to figure out ways to rein him in. Neil surprises everyone when he unites with an unexpected ally, however, and the race to the book’s satisfying conclusion is on.
This is not a story for the faint-hearted. Indeed, some of the clinical autopsy and murder scene descriptions are very well-researched, lending a macabre air of authenticity to many parts of the tale. And Bailey doesn’t hold back when it comes to suspenseful scenes that will leave you gasping for breath.
All in all, I give Walk In the Flesh five stars and look forward to more work from this imaginative writer.
And by the way, this must now be a fully edited and revised edition. I didn’t find any run-on sentences or bad grammar, as some previous reviewers had noted. Just saying that early criticisms can be unwarranted as the author refines his or her work according to feedback.