Only a very few people in the US government know about the link between a few people that seem to have gone crazy and then died. In fact, it looks as if they had an infection of some sort that made them go on a crazy killing spree before killing themselves or being stopped somehow. In the first few scenes of the novel, Dew Phillips witnesses one man's reaction to the infection: the government desperately needs someone who is alive to do research on because the bodies disintegrate within a very short time after death. They have determined that one man may be a candidate based on a phone call made to a radio station, and once inside this house, Dew finds two dead bodies, and a man with tourniquets tied around his legs. In front of Dew, he proceeds to cut off both legs, saying that ''they can walk there themselves'' and then burn himself alive.
As Montoya uses the remains in the few hours she has before they too are simply rotted away, the reader starts to become aquainted with Perry Dawson, a former college football player living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It quickly becomes apparent that he has been infected or become a host, and Sigler uses him to show the progression of the disease including the blue triangles. Montoya makes a few discoveries with the charred remains she has, while Dawson demonstrates how exactly they might affect a person. For example, the parasites/virus/whatever one may call it, uses the host's own DNA to create what it is they need to survive. They also increase the body's production of natural painkillers and hormones causing paranoia (explaining all the murderous rampages that have recently come to the government's attention).
Dawson's reaction to the invasion of his body is in ways typical, and in others, very unique. He, too, becomes paranoid. On the other hand, being afraid of doctors and coming from a family that taught tough love, he also believes in handling things himself and actually cuts out on of the infected areas towards the beginning, before they have matured and mutated. However, even this doesn't stop him from continuing to try to get rid of it. In fact, as Dawson demonstrates, the people that have been going on killing sprees and then committing suicide are actually the people that are strong enough to fight against the voices and their bodies being taken over rather than simply submitting.
The government at first suspects terrorist activity, but Montoya soon begins to doubt this as the technology is too advanced for this to be man made. She wonders if it might be natural and considers a few other options. This novel is obviously the first a series (I don't know how long a series), and the second one is available in paperback next month. The novel was good but it also left me wanting to know more, so I'll definitely be reading Contagious when it comes out.