Chad McKenna wants to live a quiet life of playing video games and watching YouTube. But when a private video of himself ‘enjoying some alone time’ goes viral, he is suddenly thrust into the media spotlight.
Chad quickly becomes a reluctant internet celebrity. As the video begins to spread across the internet, it becomes clear that this isn’t your ordinary meme. It’s a virus, and one that will do anything to survive – including murder.
If there’s anything worse than a video of yourself masturbating going viral, it’s a rogue robotic army of soldiers that all look like a naked version of yourself, who are willing to go to war with the entire world.
And Chad is the only one with the power to stop it.
Before I review ‘Viral’ by Mike Jeavons, I’m going to tell you that it’s one of the weirdest books I’ve read in quite some time – and I nearly didn’t carry on reading after the first couple of chapters – I didn’t think it was my kind of thing. However, as I was reading this novel as part of The Pigeonhole community, I gave it a bit longer, read a few more chapters, and am pleased to say that I am glad I did. As mentioned already, it’s pretty weird, very different and very definitely NOT for the faint of heart…
Chad McKenna is a strange and initially unsympathetic character. Overweight, underachieving and living with his Mum, he is struggling to justify his existence by trolling strangers in online comment threads and working as a cleaner in his ridiculously successful brother Sam’s IT company, IATech. Sam is a bully and treats Chad horribly, escalating on this particular occasions to an uncharacteristic show of violence where Chad breaks Sam’s nose by punching him very hard, in the face, in front of his employees. Sam is furious, and Chad discovers just how furious when he returns to work the next day to find a video playing on all the big screens within the office featuring Chad…shall we say ‘winding down’ after the previous days events. It soon becomes clear that Sam has hacked into Chad’s webcam and recorded him ‘enjoying’ some of the more exciting elements of the web, and worse still, has then posted the video for everyone at IATech to see. Horrendous, right? What could be worse?
Well how about that video going viral. Like, properly viral. Becoming one of the fastest-growing, most viewed videos of all time?
Or..and stay with me on this one…how about realising that your video isn’t *just* the most embarrassing meme you can imagine, it’s actually a virus. It’s a virus that will do anything to survive, including creating a sentient robotic army that all look exactly like you do when you’re enjoying a bit of ‘alone time’, bits out and all. Well yeah. That.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
Strangely, as the book progresses, you begin to sympathise with Chad and even to an extent, his brother Sam. The weirdness continues with ‘memeologist’ Colin, his increasingly strange behaviour and and his even stranger houseguest.
As I said, it’s a very odd book, written at times like a stream of consciousness, and with Chad’s smart mouth, it has some really laugh out loud funny moments. If you like your fiction a bit off the beaten path, with a whole load of trigger warnings and a great big dollop of ‘what the fuck’-ery then you should give this book a go.
Thanks to the Pigeonhole and Mike Jeavons for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.