Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie

Tooth and Nail 
by Craig DiLouie

"As a new plague related to the rabies virus infects millions, America recalls its military forces from around the world to safeguard hospitals and other vital buildings. Many of the victims become rabid and violent but are easily controlled-that is, until so many are infected that they begin to run amok, spreading slaughter and disease. Lieutenant Todd Bowman got his unit through the horrors of combat in Iraq. Now he must lead his men across New York through a storm of violence to secure a research facility that may hold a cure. 

To succeed in this mission to help save what's left of society, the men of Second Platoon will face a terrifying battle of survival against the very people they have sworn to protect-people turned into a fearless, endless horde armed solely with tooth and nail." 

DiLouie does it again!

Tooth and Nail is an exhilarating military focused adventure set in New York City. DiLouie wastes no time building up back story and gets right to the good stuff.  The Hong Kong Lyssa Virus, thought to originate from the Indian fruit bat, has begun infecting the population.  Compared to and deemed worse than the Spanish flu of 1918, it's symptoms are similar to rabies; rage, frothing at the mouth, hydrophobia.  Not Zombies in the traditional sense, the infected are fueled by a desire to spread the deadly contagion to others.  The coined term for the afflicted, "Mad Dog", is spot on and reminiscent of the menacing monstrosities that sends victims into a homicidal rage as depicted in the movie 28 Days Later.  Put simply, it's rage in it's most primitive form.  

The thing I like best about Craig DiLouie's writing is his snarky humor.  In this apocalyptic tale, phrases like "embrace the suck" and "a bag of dicks" made me laugh out loud (not good when drinking coffee at the same time).  

Historically I haven't been a big fan of works that have such a large cast of characters, but I didn't feel the strain of so many different story lines.  Each character was well developed and showed a depth that held my attention.  I found myself able to identify with each character, and enjoyed the way they all integrated into creating a complete, three dimensional story line.

DiLouie does a fantastic job of bringing his characters to life.  Their emotions are palpable and I often found myself questioning what I would do in their situation.  Told from the perspective of a platoon of soldiers, we get a glimpse into the soul of each man.  The heroism and camaraderie is evident by the extraordinary feats of bravery and compassion conveyed throughout the book. 

Army Lieutenant Bowman and Sergeant Ruiz, two of my favorite characters, were able to conjure up some strong emotions for me.  At one point, I actually got choked up by a hefty decision made by Ruiz (I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'm totally leaving you hanging).  As I read, I could feel the weight of their internal conflicts and the questioning of their own humanity as they struggle with their conscience.  

I'll admit, I may have wanted to slap the stupid out of some characters.  I mean come on, you're in the middle of what is obviously a dire situation and you want to run off and see if you can find zombies? WTF? Who says "Wouldn't it be cool if there were zombies on the other side of these doors?"  Idiots, that's who!  I found myself rooting for the demise of PFC Joel Wyatt.  The ability to evoke such annoyance from me is just another testament to DiLouie's talented writing.

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading his work before, I highly recommend starting now.  You won't be able to put them down. Craig DiLouie is definitely on my top ten list of apocalyptic authors.

If you would like to pick up a copy on Amazon, click on the above book jacket.  And if you have read it, post a comment below.  Click here to read on Goodreads.