Meat by Dane Cobain – horror thriller about factory farming
Meat is excellent, thrilling, thoughtprovoking and intense horror thriller about factory farming that gives closer look to reality of the industry.
Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal at his suburban practice. His job is to keep the animals alive for long enough to get them to slaughter.
But there are rumours of a strange creature living beneath the complex, accidents waiting to happen on brutal production lines and the threat of zoonotic disease from the pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and fish that the complex houses.
Suddenly, disaster rocks Sunnyvale and cleaners, butchers, security guards and clerical staff alike must come together under the ruthless leadership of CEO John MacDonald. Together, they’ll learn what happens when there’s a sudden change to the food chain.
Meat is thrilling and thought provoking horror thriller that focuses on Sunnyvale factory farm housing thousands of animals in abominably cruel conditions that is soon riddled with zoonotic disease that turns animals violent and vicious against humans spreading the disease like wildfire.
Meat has heavy theme and many thought-provoking layers that might turn nonvegetarians to vegans and send vegans on protest. The story is about factory farming, animal cruelty, animal abuse, animal health and illness, impact of factory farming on environment, man-made disease, survival, and retribution.
Writing is lucid, vivid, and gripping with steady pace. The story is written in omniscient third person narrative that also gives the glimpse of the creature who started the disease making the story even more eerie. This is more plot driven story divided in three parts– Before storm, Outbreak and Escape.
First part is all about the character introduction and layout of Sunnyvale. It also showed the horrible condition of animals and chilling way they were kept and treated. Poeple didn’t know how to care for animals, animals weren’t given enough space or proper treatment and hygiene wasn’t in the dictionary, and all high power-board members and CEO- were with money minting mindset that lead to ignorance towards pollution and disease that went to the extent of outbreak. This part was hard to read. It almost made me turn into vegan. It was slow build but shadow of what is coming next is menacing and dreadful. The map of the Sunnyvale made it easy to get who is working where and paths between the buildings.
When the outbreak started it was like characters were pluged into hell. There was a siege, animals escaping their prisons, attacking Sunnyvale surviors, surviors fighting with each other, and then animals attacked military in the outskirts spreading disease like wildfire… it was worst than hell. It was spellbinding and terrifying to see animals becoming vicious, violent, killing machines. It was interesting to read how the disease worked and how people were going to survive this.
As this takes place in the factory, there are many characters. Some are good and some instigators while some are expendable, just there to give a better idea of the situation. No character is likable, hard to empathize with, no one is perfect and that made them realistic. We see their different side as the disease and story progress. I’m going to include four most important characters –
Tom Copeland is new vet at Sunnyvale. He lost his own practice that made him join the Sunnyvale. His background story is sad but it didn’t make me feel sorry for him. He keeps himself to himself and cares a little for animals (more like pity) but not enough to fight for them. His need for money overrides his conscience. Looking at animals’ health and the product they made, he was wise to get his meat from fresh market. He knew there was something wrong with animals when they started acting weird but couldn’t point it until it was too late. I like how many times he tried to talk some sense to upper management to change the animal situation. Once the outbreak started, put in quarantine, he worked tirelessly to keep everyone healthy and in shape even though he wasn’t exactly human doctor and showed great deal of empathy. It was interesting to see how far he came throughout the story.
John MacDonald is CEO of Sunnyvale. He is the first one I didn’t like as he was the one who run the factory and everything going on in Sunnyvale, kept tabs on everything. He was the first person who knew something was wrong with his animals but didn’t stop the production. But when everything suddenly stopped with the siege, we see how his leadership saved lives for weeks and months. We also see he isn’t totally heartless, he cared for people who worked for him. He is practical and his decisions were good as per the situation. I actually felt sad for him when the revolt broke out among survivors. (I’m still pissed with the whole revolt scene. It made murderous animals look smarter)
Jim Benton is scottish security head of Sunnyvale. He is intimidating big guy, brute and ruthless but is naturally respected among his subordinates and is loyal to John MacDonald. This big guy is smart, practical, resourceful, courageous, and amazing at taking calculated risks with great survival skills and instincts. Like MacDonald, he too showed a caring and protective side. If I was transported in this book, I’ll totally trust him with my life. He is my most favorite character.
And there is Jill MacDonald, most young, 19 yrs old niece of John MacDonald. She is compassionate, caring and empathetic but she is too naive for this apocalyptic environment. Even though situations and all the deaths hardened her, she still acted like a petulant child, lacked the skill to survive and wasn’t exactly practical.
What I liked most is how this fiction is close to reality. While half the part- disease and zombies- are fictional, factory farming and conditions of animals in the industry are very much real which is reflected through author’s interview with experts while researching on the subject which is included at the end of the story. This book turned out very educational but there is lots of blood and gore that made me cringe. I can imagine readers who cannot read animal cruelty or those who are squeamish find it hard to finish the book.
Why 4 stars-
It took me more time to finish this book but I enjoyed the book. My only small issue is with the end. It’s unbelievable. Of course, this is fiction, there has to be some hope and all but still, I cannot digest it. (I cannot say what exactly as it might ruin the end.) It’s also a bit slow in some parts.
Overall, Meat is excellent, mindblowing, thoughtprovoking and intense horror thriller with theme of factory farming that gives closer look to reality of the industry.
I highly recommend this if you like,
slow build up
lots of blood and gore
quarantine in the story
doesn’t mind subject of animal cruelty and abuse
more details on factory farming
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Lashaan Balasingam @ Roars and Echoes
The end sounds like a tough sell but the rest sounds pretty good! Great review, Yesha! 😀
Books Teacup and Reviews
Thank you, Lashaan! Yes, it’s really good except the end.
I totally couldn’t read this book but I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It definitely says horror to me and is perfect for this time of year. Excellent review!
Eustacia | Eustea Reads
Wow, this one sounds really scary! Don’t think it’s for me but glad you liked it overall!
Books Teacup and Reviews
You need to be okay with reading about cruelty, blood and gore, so yes. it’s not for everyone.
Oh my goodness, this premise is really scary, especially with all that is going on in the world with animal diseases etc. Excellent review, Yesha.
Books Teacup and Reviews
Thank you, Carla! It’s perfect for the season.