“If the end of the world can’t cleanse the human heart, what reason can there be to continue?”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
The Veil is an interesting concept, initially I thought it was a two part story brought together for the first time as a single volume but it’s not, nor is it two short stories- it’s more of a conjoined twin of a tale with two completely separate identities that are irrevocably joined at the literary hip by the Hush.
The Hush is what ended the Earth as we know it, everything electrical stopped working and the world fell silent, the vast majority of people forever changed coming out only at nighttime and filled with an unknown desperate need for something, wailing and sobbing incessantly.
In Testament I we join Sherri a former hairdresser as she volunteers for the nightly Kill Crew who keep the hoards of sobbing zombies away from the Station a place of sanctuary for those who are immune to whatever it was that ended civilisation.
A complicated character Sherri is protective, maternal (she has taken on the role of parent/protector of Trixie a little girl who we discover needs protecting from more than just zombies), delicate and yet at the same time a kick ass heroine who will not hesitate to blow your brains out if you cross her. Her determination to not let anyone down and to fight whatever it is that is now populating her home planet quickly has you rooting for her miraculous escape and for her to have her happy ending; does she get it? You’ll have to read it and find out for yourself.
Testament II has us hoisted into the air in an underground cavern by enormous slimy slobbering velcro like tentacles and yes they will make you shudder. Our protagonist in this story is the husband in an unhappy marriage, held together only because of their 6 year old son, his back story becomes clearer as he reminisces over the past few weeks and the things that have happened around and to him since the Hush. He’s is not all that likeable and his selfish actions will soon have you losing any sympathy you may have for his predicament; his end seems inevitable and imminent as he realises what and where he is but he is nothing if not resourceful.
As with all of Joseph’s books that I have read thus far the writing is atmospheric and descriptive without being long winded and convoluted. His characters are rounded and real and the world he describes is all too easy to imagine.
At the end of this book it is revealed that Joseph has been inspired to write two further episodes? Testaments? about the Hush but don’t worry these as yet unwritten books are not essential for you to enjoy these very different apocalypse/zombie novellas.
Added 21st November 2016