Book Reviews - "Smallville" Titles
Smallville: SilenceWriter: Nancy Holder
Cover Design: Don Puckey
Book Design: L&G McRee
Published by: Aspect and Warner Books (November 2003)
Reviewed by: Aaron Thall
Chloe's overeagerness to break a big story blows up in her face in the worst way possible. A respected teacher is stepping down, and she's stumbled upon an apparent reason why: the teacher was supposedly selling drugs. But even as Clark and Pete convince her not to go ahead with the story, for fear the man's family doesn't know, word gets out. Suddenly, Chloe discovers that she misunderstood, and inadvertantly destroyed a family. The teacher commits suicide, and the son threatens her life.
Meanwhile, in Haiti, a Luthorcorp pact with the local government and military has birthed a literal zombie nightmare. A single volunteer escapes both the zombies and the military, and makes her way to Smallville, where she is forced to turn to Lex Luthor for help.
At the same time, an ex-con and his daughter mover to Smallville. The daughter, Rebecca, is terribly afraid that no one will trust her once they discover the truth. Chloe soon does, but after what happened only days prior, withholds the information. What neither of the girls knows, however, is that the father has far more to answer for than mere robbery.
Soon, a zombie soil sample is stolen from Lex's mansion, and as zombies begin to rob stores in town, mercenaries hired by the zombie conspirators arrive to eliminate the volunteer and her evidence.
But Clark is preoccupied. Martha falls ill, and is rushed to the hospital. And Pete becomes infected with the Zombie illness. To save his friends, family, and home, Clark will have to race around the world to find a cure, but what can he do against Kryptonite infected living dead... and Lionel Luthor?
Story - 4: It goes without saying from the review that Clark really doesn't get as much play here as in the other novels. Aside from racing around the world, he really can't do too much to help in this situation. No, this is more a story for Chloe and Lex, and they carry it well. Chloe learns a tragic lesson in journalistic responsibility, and Lex displays both intelligence and admiration.
However, I simply do not buy much of the resolution. Martha's illness is largely a distraction. Pete's rescue comes from the most unlikely source of all. It's like Holder looked at the corner she'd written herself into, and then had one of the villains do a 180 to make everything turn out all right. I simply can't buy it.
The side story about Rebecca and her father was very sad. You want to believe that the man is innocent of these new crimes, but it's very much a case of "be careful what you wish for".
If the novel had focused more on Chloe's tragic mistake, it would have been a fantastic story. As it is, the sheer ludicrousness of having zombies running around the town makes it merely above average.
Cover Art - 4: Lana kneeling before her parents' grave. Pity Lana never did that in the novel. To be fair, there IS a graveyard in the story, and a LOT of mourning. They're still trying with the covers, but this one just didn't quite do it.
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