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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Addiction & Pestilence by E.M. Kelly is a gripping story with a fascinating post-apocalyptic setting characterized by a gritty struggle against the plague, a narrative with powerful religious themes. A plague is unleashed in New York by the Four Horsemen and it spreads quickly. People are moving and seeking a means of survival. It is against this backdrop that Drew Murphy, an E.M.T. in Boston and a former Marine, undertakes his own journey towards redemption. A man with dark secrets who finds comfort and an escape in his addictions, he sets out to go to his mother who is very sick. The journey is that of transformation as he joins others who have their inner demons to conquer. United by the will to survive and save their families, can they find enough fight in them to trump their addictions and save those they love?
The prose is gripping and E.M. Kelly’s narrative voice is strong, exposing points of views that are clearly defined. The narrative opens with very intriguing lines: “The little black mass appeared out of nowhere. It floated and danced like a butterfly, yet it stayed in the same place.” And the reader wants to know what the floating object is and how it materializes itself. The chapters are short, the paragraph breaks designed for great dramatic effect, and these combine with the use of short sentences to make for an enjoyable read. The pacing is fast, the action intense, and the entire narrative filled with great emotional intelligence. Addiction & Pestilence is a novel with themes of addiction, but curiously, it is addictive. I was hypnotized, transformed, and found myself rooting for the characters. The writing is infused with realism and a fine sense of humanity. The grittiness is real, the psychological elements of the narrative strong, and the character development is expertly handled.