Rapid Growth - James A. Moore

Rabid Growth

(No Series)

People change all the time. But Chris Corin is noticing some pretty extreme changes in the people around him. His best friend is suffering from a strange fever and acting in ways that just don't make sense. And some oddly familiar people in town have started stalking Chris, threatening him, blaming him for bizarre changes they've noticed in themselves.

Things get worse when the changes become physical. Blisters start to form on people. Hideous mutations appear around town. Can these changes somehow be responsible for the violent murders that have occurred--murders that point directly at Chris? Something definitely wants Chris dead, something very powerful. Something beyond his imagination.

Having enjoyed the hell out of possessions, Rabid Growth wasn't something I put off. This book follows the actions of Chris and his rather annoying sister, Brittany, months after the fiasco that erupted in Possessions. His pals from before are still hanging around, although I never warmed up to them the same. They seem a bit different here, less three dimensional, with less personality, and were more predictable.

The pace was fine, tension was there, but the plot itself had a few flaws. It read like an old B science fiction story, which is cool if you're in the mood, but a few things were overdone - namely teenage male hormones. It's reasonable to conclude an adolescent male wouldn't be thinking monk thoughts, but if overdone it loses humor and appeal and interferes with the plot (for another example of this, see my review of Laymons' Body Rides; suffers from nearly the same syndrome)

Because of this 'sexual syndrome', the believability of Chris's plight is diminished. While he's enduring some serious screwy situations, being hassled by a grandmother he's never known that wants to nab his sister, and battling suspicious police offers, deranged friends, and possible world domination - he keeps getting sidetracked. None of it feels that real as a result, and therefore the suspense that should be there isn't. The reader has a hard time caring about the characters fate and future if they themselves can't focus strongly on it.

Back story is given so the reader isn't lost, but a bit too much. Too many reminders is redundant, even if you've never tread on this ground. Dialogue was humorous as before, yet a few key phrases stuck out as awkward.

There are still some winning points here - such as the basic characterization (their good flaws anyway), a neat B story mojo going on, and Moore's basic creative writing style, but overall it just doesn't hold water. Sadly I'm disappointed, but I'm sure in the future Moore will redeem himself.