Plot: This tense and vivid novel excels at creating an atmosphere of claustrophobic dread. The scientifically-based logic behind the story's rabid animal attacks is convincingly conveyed within the fictional context.
Prose: The author writes in clipped prose that is driven by a sense of urgency, while discussion of biological agents responsible for the animal attacks, is cogently integrated.
Originality: Banner's inclusion of rational scientific explanation, playful allusions to apocalyptic fiction, and the horror of being confined on a cruise ship under attack, provides fresh dimension to a familiar concept of animals rendered nightmarishly threatening.
Character Development: The novel's protagonist is both well developed, naturally flawed, and effectively utilized within the broader storyline. Secondary characters are similarly given agency, even those facing certain death.
Date Submitted: May 27, 2018
Madness packs a massive wallop from the first page of its prologue, a contaminant in 1712 Tenerife. Red eyes, crazed animals, and the gory demise of a man and his son set the tone for Ted and TJ's own cataclysmic voyage centuries later. The story is well executed and invites both thrills and horror from its onset, not a simple task in an age where apocalyptic novels abound. Banner has the skilled hand of a seasoned author where suspense building applies, and the descriptions in Madness read like a movie script...they are wonderfully detailed and fleshed out (bad pun regretfully intended). I'd recommend Madness to anyone looking for a fresh, unique, and exhilarating twist to the horror genre, but must warn readers that once they've picked the book up, they'll be hard pressed to set it back down. I loved it. Really, really well done!