It's Present Day-ish and there's a mysterious disease that causes people to SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST!
I like Joe Hill's style, and interestingly enough this was the first proper novel of his I have read after already consuming his truly excellent graphic novel series Locke & Key and the mostly-OK supernatural horror film Horns adapted from his novel of the same name.
That being said, I felt this book was, more than his previous material, truly Stephen King for Millennials. It's an obvious comparison, of course, given that Hill is indeed Mr. King's son but at least it's a flattering one. For me the sustained tension, the sense of dread and danger, the unexpectedly loquacious convicts, the so-should-have-seen-it-coming-but-somehow-didn't heal-turn of a character you had come to see as sympathetic, as well as the seemingly unkillable antagonist...Well, you get the idea.
I liked having a young Nurse as the protagonist, it must be said, and it was great that Harper's defining characteristic was calm under fire. No squealing and running up the stairs when she should be running out the door from this girl. The Mary Poppins obsession maybe was a bit much, but I guess every Millennial POV character needs their "thing".
Lastly, I like how Hill has the intellectual honesty to directly address and pay tribute to the material that clearly inspired him, everything from the Night of the Living Dead to
The Road to The Twilight Zone and beyond gets directly name checked. So good on him.
On the whole, if you're looking for a beach read or something to ease some Walking Dead jones-ing this book is for you.