J.F. Gonzalez is one of my favorite writers and I will gladly buy and quickly read anything he publishes. I enjoy everything Gonzalez does, but I must confess to having a preference to his crime/suspense novels. Fetish, Bully and especially Survivor are my favorites.

With Primitive, J.F. Gonzalez branches into Brian Keene territory. While not exactly a zombie novel, Primitive deals with the apocalypse and survivors being plagued by subhuman beasts.

One morning writer David Spires awakens to what appears to be another ordinary day in Los Angeles. Little does he know that civilization as he and everyone else knows it is about to end. A frantic call and shocking news from his son's day care center is the start of it and by the end of the day he and his remaining family are struggling for their existence against human beings that have somehow turned primitive.

The Spires join forces with other survivors of the inexplicable plague that has turned the majority of people into violent, bloodthirsty creatures that resemble nothing so much as primitive man. The group travels in search of sanctuary, but the primitives are always one step behind them. And it becomes increasingly aware that a malignant force is behind them. A force that is growing stronger and closer all the time.

The first person narrative in Primitive is exciting and poignant. David Spires is a normal guy who by circumstances is forced to become a hero. As I reached the end of Primitive, it felt like I had been on an epic journey myself. There is a lot of action in the book, but there is also a great deal of human warmth. It's a powerful story that at times felt to me like a metaphor for our own times.

I recommend Primitive very highly. For one thing the trade paperback is supposedly going to be one of the last that Delirium will be doing. But mainly because it's an outstanding book. I still think I like Survivor a bit more, but Primitive is a strong new direction for Gonzalez.

Primitive is also available in a digital edition at The Horror Mall.

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