The novel opens on a bucolic scene, the once-a-year Fourth of July parade in Jericho Falls, N.H. To Maeve Sinclair, just shy of 30, the parade is a melancholy reminder that she’s transferring on to a new position in Boston. Her whole loved ones is listed here: Maeve’s amicably divorced mothers and fathers her younger brother, Logan her sister, Rose and Rose’s girlfriend, Priya. There’s also an aged flame of Maeve’s, as perfectly as Tim, the male who took her to the junior prom.
But ahead of Maeve can begin saying her farewells, in a scene reminiscent of the opening of Stephen King’s 2014 novel “Mr. Mercedes,” a BMW occupations on to Main Street, killing various revelers. Maeve’s alcoholic father, Ted, pushes Rose and Priya from its path prior to he slams into and above the car’s hood. When Maeve rushes to his aspect, she finds him alive. It may look like the worst is around, but then Maeve witnesses some thing horrific.
“Tim vegetation a hand, fingers splayed, on the driver’s bloodied T-shirt. The driver reaches out and grabs Tim by the face, shoves him backward. As Tim usually takes just one step back, Maeve is certain she sees the imprint of the driver’s hand flare pink on Tim’s pores and skin just before it fades.”
Within seconds, Tim is dead, blood streaming from his eyes and nose. The driver staggers on via the road, grabbing onlookers, all of whom die in times. When the driver lunges for a father and young child, Maeve goes after him with a baseball bat. Unthinkingly, she grabs his wrist as he reaches for her throat. At her touch, the gentleman perishes. Maeve does not, and her mom and brother operate to her. As they embrace Maeve, each household associates convulse and die, and Maeve sees the telltale purple imprint of her hand on Logan’s cheek.
What follows is a terrifying journey into the neighboring White Mountains, as Maeve flees from her surviving family members associates lest she unwittingly eliminate them, also. Eaten by guilt and dread, and doubtful of what she’s grow to be, or why, Maeve grows progressively debilitated by whatsoever has infected her.
Even worse, Ted, Rose and Priya aren’t the only types attempting to uncover Maeve. Oscar Hecht — Client Zero, the driver of the BMW — experienced been a analysis scientist at a top rated key, govt-funded research facility. His work centered on Task: Purple Arms, a tactile bacterium an infection staying designed as a bio-weapon. For explanations that continue to be somewhat murky, Hecht injected the bacterium into himself, therefore getting the project’s first human subject matter: just one who was seemingly immune and a carrier, like Maeve.
Yet as Maeve starts to hear a voice inside her head, urging her to contact some others, it results in being apparent that she is not, maybe, a random vector of ailment, but a person who’s been chosen as its host — but by what? Millions have now viewed recordings of Hecht’s assaults, and numerous men and women are intent on tracking down Maeve. Among them are Alena Boudreau, a steely Helen Mirren-like character, and Ben Walker, a previous DARPA investigator, who team up to find Maeve prior to she’s turned into a bioweapon.
Tautly composed, “Red Hands” — the 3rd in a sequence starring Walker — excels not just for the reason that of its scare element (which is significant), but also its humane depiction of grief, isolation and worry, growing distrust of governing administration and even one’s individual neighbors. This potent novel’s most haunting image is not so much the gruesome an infection generated by a touch, but of loved ones pressing their arms versus reverse sides of a glass wall, longing for connection.
Elizabeth Hand’s most the latest novel is “The Ebook of Lamps and Banners.”
St. Martin’s. 310 pp. $28.99