There’s almost nothing more disgusting than parasites. The very thought of ticks, tapeworms, flukes, and fleas making a meal out of us bite by bite turns our stomachs. Do creepy-crawlies bug you, too? If so, then here are four books sure to get under your skin!
The Salt Line
by Holly Goddard Jones
The United States has fallen. What’s left of its former citizens have withdrawn to the safety of the Zones: carefully quarantined city states free of miner ticks, the parasite that overran the rest of the country decades ago. If you’re rich and foolhardy enough, you can take an adventure tour into the deserted lands outside the zone. The protective equipment you’re issued will probably keep you safe from the ticks, but as one group discovers, there are plenty of other dangers in the wild.
When a miner tick bites, it burrows deep into the flesh and lays hundreds of eggs. If you don’t die of Shreve’s disease — an always fatal viral illness many of the ticks carry — then you’ll have the hatching to look forward to: tiny ticks bursting out from your body like bloody popcorn. Of course, the fever, delirium and gnawing urge to mutilate your flesh might cause you to end it all before that happens.
by Nick Cutter
A scoutmaster and his troop encounter a delirious, emaciated man during a weekend stay on an island. The stranger is starving, yet no amount of food sates his hunger. Eventually he dies, as does the scoutmaster who tried to help him. Both are discovered to be swarming with mutant tape worms.
The scouts are forced to take drastic measures to keep the contagion from spreading after one of them begins to show signs of infection. Paranoia and violence begin to take their toll as the boys wait for someone — anyone — to come and rescue them. Imagine a version of William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies” directed by David Cronenberg, and you should have a good idea of what The Troop is all about.
by Ben H. Winters
Alex, Susan, and their daughter have found the perfect apartment: a spacious and inexpensive living space in a newly renovated brownstone only a block from a park and playground. A place like this doesn’t pop up everyday in New York City, especially at a bargain price.
The trouble starts when Susan wakes up with red welts: tell-tale signs of a bedbug infestation. The weird thing is that Alex and their daughter don’t seem to have any problem, and the landlady swears the apartment is insect-free. Susan worries that she’s losing her mind, and is willing to believe almost anything — even the possibility that the bedbugs have a supernatural origin.
by Mira Grant
It’s a miracle! The genetically modified tapeworms known as “intestinal bodyguards” protect their human hosts from all illnesses of all kinds. At least, that’s how it was supposed to work. Now the buddy in your bowels wants a say in how the world works, and it is not going to let a little thing like the human race get in the way. Society starts cracking apart at the seams when these scientifically souped-up parasites take the wheel.