Russell James “Q Island” Review

Posted: July 17, 2015 in Reviews, Uncategorized
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Length: 327 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: July 7, 2015

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of blog tour

Earlier this year I reviewed Russell James’ Dreamwalker, a book about the dreamwalker Pete and his struggle to save the real world and the dream world from the evil presence of Jean St. Croix.  It was the first novel of Russell’s that I read and I had an absolute blast following Pete’s adventures. What I liked about the novel besides a unique premise, was James’ ability to create interesting characters and the impressive world-building that went into Twin Moon City. It was through Dreamwalker that I became a fan of James’ work and when I heard he was releasing a book about an ancient virus epidemic, I knew I had to give it a read!

In Q Island, an ancient virus that was entombed below a sheet of ice for thousands of years has been unleashed across Long Island and has plunged the city into chaos. Those who are infected with the virus develop black veins and an insatiable desire to kill and cause destruction in their path. The virus manifests itself much like the flu in some ways with fever, bloodshot eyes, headaches, red streaks on the skin and dark veins. The virus turns the infected incredibly violent and they can achieve superhuman strength for brief periods of time. The disease sends people into a hyper violent mode in order to better spread the disease.

As the island begins to descend into complete chaos and insanity, the government quarantines the island in an effort to keep the virus in check which traps Melanie Bailey and her autistic son Aiden on the island. Despite numerous close calls and deadly run-ins with the infected, Aiden is able to survive the infection. He may be the key to curing the Paleovirus, but only if Melanie and her friends are able to get him off the island.

On the other side of the island, Jimmy Wade is embracing the changes on Q Island. Before the outbreak of the Paleovirus, Jimmy was just a scrawny, small-time criminal who was at the mercy of mobster Madman Mozelle. Now, Jimmy has risen through the ranks of the underworld to lead a gang seeking to rule Q Island. He has survived the infection of the virus, but becomes increasingly violent and has a penchant for feasting on the brains of his victims. When he learns of Aiden’s ability to survive the virus, he launches a manhunt to track him down. Jimmy believes consuming his brain will make him immortal. As Jimmy begins closing in on Melanie and Aiden, they must rely on each other and their allies in an attempt to escape Q Island.

There is a large cast of characters in Q Island and James is able to weave their individual plot-lines together flawlessly into a compulsively readable story. Whether you are reading about Melanie and Aiden’s struggle to survive, Jimmy Wade’s violent rise as a criminal warlord or Dr. Bradshaw’s quest for answers about the Paleovirus, each story-line is riveting and there is not a dull moment to be found in the entirety of Q Island.

My favorite thing about Q Island is the unique creation of the virus. I have read a ton of apocalyptic fiction where a virus gets out and it usually spreads much like you would expect, through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. James’ Paleovirus, however, is a nasty creation that has multiple ways of spreading. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’ll just say that even if you are able to survive the superhuman psychopaths roaming the streets that are infected by the virus, you better hope you aren’t in the area after you take one down!

Not only did I enjoy the way the virus was developed, but I thought James’ portrayal of the infected was unique and pretty terrifying. When I originally read the synopsis for Q Island months ago, I thought that the virus was going to more or less turn people into zombies. While I wouldn’t have minded that approach, I was pleasantly surprised that James’ decided to go in a different direction with this book. While the virus transforms them into bloodthirsty maniacs who are technically dead, they do not lose all of their human attributes. They are still aware of their actions and have the ability to develop strategies and work in teams, which is what makes them so lethal.

Q Island was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I am happy to say it was everything I hoped it would be. It is full of great characters that you can’t help but root for (well, except for Jimmy) and offers plenty of action-packed scenes that will thrill fans of just about any genre. If you are have an interest in apocalyptic fiction, Q Island is an essential addition to your reading list!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win one of two audiobook copies of Dreamwalker, courtesy of Russell James and Hook of a Book Media & Publicity

Rating: 5/5


Russell James’ Official Website

Samhain Horror Official Website

Add Q Island on Goodreads

Purchase Q Island: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Horror

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About Q Island

Q Island is the sixth novel (a novella collection with three other authors makes seven) that Russell James has published with Samhain Horror under legendary horror editor Don D’Auria! He’s also published various other books and short story collections that may be found on Amazon.

It’s an epidemic. An ancient virus is loose on Long Island, NY. Its black-veined victims become sociopathic killers, infecting others through body fluids or a post mortem release of spores. Chaos rules. The island is quarantined.

Melanie Bailey and her autistic son Aiden are trapped. Aiden is bitten, but survives. He might be the key to a cure, if she can escape what the world now calls Q Island. Further east, gang leader Jimmy Wade has also survived infection, and become telepathic with a taste for human flesh.

Wade sets his followers on a search for the immune boy who can make him a god, if only Wade can consume him. A scrappy, one-eyed nurse and a retired pipeline technician agree to help Melanie escape, but it’s a long shot that they can avoid the infected, Wade’s tightening grip and a military ordered to keep everyone on Q Island.

Praise for Russell R. James

“James has a talent for combining action-packed vignettes into a powerful, fast-paced whole.”

Library Journal on Black Magic

(Five Stars, A Night Owl Top Pick) “I loved the story so much that I’m eagerly waiting to read more from him. He carefully and very intricately wove his storyline to have elements of mystery and suspense throughout. I now have a new favorite book I’ll read over and over again.”

Night Owl Reviews on Dark Inspiration

“The book had me at the edge of my seat. The writing is so vivid I even jumped a few times. If you’re a fan of the genre, love ghosts and are drawn to the supernatural, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book!”

Long and Short Reviews on Dark Inspiration

James fills the novel with compete characters that are easy to care about and cheer for (or against) when appropriate. There is a very strong human element to the novel that allows the reader to sink into the story and become involved in its events.”

The Examiner

Dreamwalker is the first Russell James novel that I have had the pleasure to read and it was an absolute blast! I am definitely looking forward to exploring his previous and upcoming works. There is something for everyone in this novel – action, horror, fantasy and a hint of romance. Highly recommended!”

The Horror Bookshelf

“This could very well be the best horror novel of the year.”

Examiner on Q Island

About Russell James

writer's stop1

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, and Dreamwalker. He has several horror short story collections, including Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness, as well as some science fiction collections. Now, Q Island, released July 7, 2015 and he’s already under contract for his next book for 2016.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.” He and his wife share their home in sunny Florida with two cats.

To find out more about Russell R. James, please visit his Website or follow him on Facebook! Join him on Twitter, @RRJames14. Also, feel free to drop him at a line at


Rafflecoper giveaway for two audiobook copies of Dreamwalker. Two winners will each win one code for a free audio book, open everywhere. Must use a valid email that you can be reached by. By entering the giveaway, you consent to allow Russell to have your email for very infrequent newsletter updates. Contest ends August 31, 2015. Other contest questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, Hook of a Book Media at

Rafflecopter Code to Enter:

  1. Thanks so much for such a detailed and positive review.Very happy to have made a fan!

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