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Impact, by Adam Baker, Hodder & Stoughton, RRP£13.99, 407 pages
The fourth book in Adam Baker’s SF-horror series, set in a world in which human bodies are commandeered by an extraterrestrial virus and turned into mindless killing machines, is the most visceral yet. Baker excels at taking a small group of individuals and putting them in pressure-cooker situations where the enemy isn’t just the hordes of alien zombies but the darkness in the hearts of the still living.
In one of the most inhospitable environments known to man, Death Valley, an antiquated B-52 bomber crashes while on a mission to drop a nuclear bomb on a secret US military compound. The crew safely eject, then struggle across the desolate landscape to the only shelter available: the plane wreckage.
With little in the way of supplies and rescue a remote prospect, they must survive burning sun, freezing nights, injury, and the undead, which are more of a threat than ever, having begun to evolve a kind of intelligence. Told in terse, James Ellroy-esque prose, Impact is punchy and propulsive entertainment.