SICK begins rapidly with an interesting premise—an army community is dying of a fast acting disease. The disease is not natural. The dead and dying are the victims of intentional infection. The people seeking to cure him have separated the main character, Captain Daniel Ash, from his children. Wait, are these people trying to cure Ash and his family? Or are they the ones who have experimented upon Ash’s family? We quickly learn that Ash and his family have varying levels of immunity to the disease. Shortly after that, someone breaks Ash out of his quarantine imprisonment and the race to save his children begins.
SICK gives us all the things we want in a conspiracy thriller: action, uncertainty, trust issues, twists, and revenge. One of the most frustrating aspects of the tale is that we see things through Ash’s eyes to the point where we learn as little about the shadowy organizations between which Ash is caught as he does. But while some might view that as a problem with the tale, I think it will end up being SICK’s strong suit in the long run. Battles isn’t fooling around with this story. It goes for the jugular and he’s planning on it being the first shot in a series. The sequel, EXIT NINE, should be available later this year. Battles knows how to set up a series. He’s given us an adrenaline-inducing first chapter in a larger tale. The immediate story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Although it leaves many, many questions unanswered, each one can be seen as carefully created in view of the author’s intention to deliver a series (The Project Eden Series).