A bloodbath ensues after inhabitants of a small Illinois town become gradually possessed by wormlike alien parasites hidden in the depths of a lake.
In Lake DeLayne, a town outside of Chicago, the generally disgruntled and conflicted residents find their lives disrupted by the catastrophe of the “Big Wave.” A dead-center meteorite strike in the lake created a mini-tsunami and killed several citizens. Weeks later, everything seems to be settling into relative normalcy—meaning election-year dirty tricks, sordid love affairs, bullying, and resentment. But a research team can find no trace of meteorite fragments. In fact, the sinister extraterrestrial visitor turns out to be a small, shiny sphere filled with wormlike aquatic parasites that can possess the brains of unprotected humans. Starting with the town drunk/trailer-park preacher, the entities begin gradually zombifying the youth and adults of Lake DeLayne, with a single-minded objective to get as many of them into the water and infected as possible. Any who resist or pose threats must be summarily killed. Thus, with some succinctly sketched, if borderline-stock characters (the heroic Gulf War veteran/gas-station owner, the upright police captain, the pretty lady scientist), the stage is set for a bloody, fairly satisfying Invasion of the Body Snatchers takeoff. Price (Ryan’s Quest, 2016, etc.) turns in a grisly, straight-faced, horror/sci-fi narrative with the ingredients for a breezy beach read—in more ways than one. The author does not attempt to depict the mindset (if any), origin, or motivation of the worms, which is just fine as the action keeps coming in the manner of many a 1970s or ’80s in-flight paperback, right down to the familiar twist ending. While the material has drive-in–movie mojo, it avoids flaunting any campy, postmodern attitude, though readers with strong schlock-cinema memories may note a plotline very close to the 1998 teen screen thriller The Faculty, which was all about this kind of self-referential genre kidding.
An effective, pulpy tale of alien brain-snatching, best read at poolside for maximum B-movie enjoyment.