The story of a supporting character from the first novel in the Quarantine series adds a fourth book to the trilogy.
Gonzalo (whose ambiguous racial markers might read as Latino) was the muscle for the Loners clique, leaving it only to return to the infected zone for his girlfriend, Sasha. The bulk of the novel uses a rigid alternating-chapter structure that switches between his search in the present and his experiences during the events of The Loners (2012). The past storyline reveals that, before a three-month growth spurt turned Gonzalo into a hulk, he was small enough that he fell in with a secret clique, the Mice, who stole from the others. Besides that, it effectively retreads the previous book, treating a barely seen romance based on physical attraction like an epic love. In the present, Gonzalo’s struggles to find Sasha force him to team up with a treacherous old enemy, who frequently calls Gonzalo dumb (the text supports the antagonist’s interpretation of Gonzalo’s intelligence). The tensionless wild goose chase is marked by gross-out gore in lieu of suspense, which matches the faux-edgy tone evoked by a fetishization of nonconsensual sexuality (which receives just as much attention as the lovers’ relationship). Only one twist near the end works, and only then because the worldbuilding is so sketchy.
Quarantine this pointless book. (Science fiction. 16-18)