Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Book Review: The Mad Death by Nigel Slater

I watched this as a TV mini series when I was a kid and it scared the utter crap out of me! I was scared of the very idea of rabies and had nightnares for weeks! Sadly the book did not live up to the memories of the series.

It begins when a French family illegally bring their rabid cat to the UK while on holiday and the cat escapes and infects a fox. A man finds the dazed fox and takes it home to look after it, becoming infected himself. By the time he dies from the disease, the government is in a panic trying to contain the incident.

Viv Tate is put in charge and I couldn't stand the sight of him. He is rude, obnoxious, sexist, with no redeeming features. Having the most uncooperative man on the planet being the face of the government campaign hardly inspires confidence in them stopping the outbreak, thus he gets little cooperation from the people or the journalists. Of course his sidekick is the drunken useless Scotsman who doesn't do his job and causes human deaths. Great. There is also the female love interest who is there for Viv to abuse and slag off and patronise. What the heck she sees in him is an utter mystery to me. And does she have to cry every five minutes?

At times I was rooting for the rabid animals...

This book was more behind the scenes of the investigation, showing what regulations are brought in and how they try to stop the infection spreading. While I found that interesting, the lack of human interest plotlines did leave the book coming up short. We get a little bit of the story of the first death and the story of the infected child, but seeing it all through the eyes of a horrible MC reduced the impact. I felt it should have been less about his bad manners and love life, and more about the people living in fear of every animal they see. It just lacked the scary factor that would have added tension to the story. We also got into the realms of lunacy with the plot involving the mad woman who wants to kill Viv...mind you, perhaps I can see her point!

It was ok as a read but not one I'd look at again. I would like to see the series again-wish they'd put it back on TV!
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. Haha! Rooting for the rabid animals. That totally sounds like something I would do! That cover is one scary dog. Don't know that I would read the book, but it probably made for a decent series.

    1. Yeah the cover is a bit unsettling! I saw the TV series when I was about 10 and it scared me rigid. The opening credits had a scary fox face distorting with creepy music...*shudder*