Contagion

Get Sick? Run!

Fiction - Suspense
320 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Contagion: Get Sick? Run! by Chad Stambaugh is a book I loved for a number of reasons. It establishes a powerful premise — a family has to choose between a loved one and the welfare of society and in the context of an epidemic. The conflict is well-developed and the emotion hits home to the reader in a powerful way. A deadly virus is taking lives in a community and the CDC is out to contain the virus by eliminating victims and families. When Vincent Gallo’s eldest daughter, Alegra, shows signs of the virus, he knows he must make a difficult choice. Will he and his family stay put and try to hide the virus from prying public eyes or will they take their chances at an escape.

The story is well-written in a voice that is fascinating. From the very first page, the reader is captivated by the crisp prose, the powerful images and the focused scenes. But the characters are also compelling. We are thrust into a society where uncertainty seems to be part of the rhythm of life of the inhabitants. From the moment the reader meets the Gallos, they are hooked and they want to find out what will happen to them. Chad Stambaugh weaves realism into the story and makes readers believe in the characters. The plot looks a little linear, without complex layers, but it has surprises that readers will enjoy in a work of this nature and a psychological depth that is 'contagious.'

There is something about the narrative voice, something unique that keeps readers turning the pages. It’s this originality — the unique way with words, the creativity when it comes to character development, and the compelling elements of the setting — that gives this book its appeal. The author creates a vivid setting and readers can see the lawns, feel the streets and get a whiff of the smell of the pizza, the oddly familiar pasta smells in the air. The beautifully imagined and well-described locales make readers feel as though they are part of the story. I can’t wait for the next book in the Contagion: Get Sick? Run! series.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

A contagion, worse than the plague. A family infected. A government conspiracy to cover things up. But what are they covering up? And why? And is the contagion for real? High school senior, Alegra, has the spots that indicate she’s contracted the contagion. Her friend next door was infected and his family was evacuated by people in hazmat suits and their home set afire. Alegra is worried that the same fate will befall her family: her parents and three younger siblings. When she tells her father, he reveals another side of his life no one knew about: a man who knows how to run contraband. And that’s what he does with his family: they run.

Chad Stambaugh’s suspense novel, Contagion: Get Sick? Run!, delves into the 'what if' possibilities of a multitude of ‘what if’ conspiracy theories. What if the contagion was just a hoax? What if the hunt and remove government incentive was one to control the general population through fear? And what if it all comes to light and the truth is uncovered? An ordinary American family, going about their daily lives like everyone else, finds their world overturned by a few spots on the eldest daughter’s arm. The spots are the symptom everyone looks for. But does it really mean anything? The plot thickens as neighbors and close friends are removed and their homes exterminated. The only solution, really, is to run. Vincent, the father, knows how to run. He’s done it before. He still has connections in the world of contraband smuggling. But is that enough to help him get his family out of the country and away from the government authorities who want to intern them?

There is good plot development in Contagion. The tension builds along with the action as the conflict intensifies. The Contagion family members are believable and each of their characteristics are well developed. The reader feels a part of the unfolding drama from beginning to end. Knowing how governments work in the twenty-first century, it is certainly a believable, if chilling scenario for the present and even the future when this story actually takes place. This is a thrilling read from beginning to end. And, yet, it’s not the end, really. There are sequels coming...

Ruffina Oserio

What happens when a contagious virus hits a town? Things could have been different if the disease had stopped at the neighbor’s home. But Vincent Gallo and his family are the witnesses to the horrors of the CDC’s containment of the virus. So when Vincent’s eldest daughter, Alegra, shows signs of having the virus, they must choose between being discovered and “contained” or running for it. But how much time do they have and how far can they go before someone finds out? Contagion: Get Sick? Run! by Chad Stambaugh is an engaging story with a serious crisis and memorable, interesting characters.

A book about a family in the middle of crisis, facing a tragedy that puts not only their lives in danger, but society as a whole will get the attention of any reader who enjoys family themes. Readers are transported into the hearts of the characters, to experience their anxiety and the fear that grips everyone in the Gallo family. But this is a story of love, of a family’s journey to protect itself and to stay alive. It evokes powerful sentiments of compassion for the characters. The author explores relationships in this novel in a brilliant way; it is gripping, unveiling deeper layers of the humanity of the characters.

The story is emotionally rich, suspenseful, and character-driven. Chad Stambaugh’s novel is fast-paced, engrossing, and delightful. While the writing is excellent with great dialogues and vivid descriptions, it is the treatment of character that made me a fan of Chad Stambaugh. The author has the gift of keeping readers engrossed from the beginning to the end of the story. You will ache to find out the fate of the characters in Contagion: Get Sick? Run!