Rhys Thomas - On the Third Day (3 stars)

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Rhys Thomas - On the Third Day

(Doubleday)

Rampaging humans infected with a mysterious, incurable disease, society’s structures crumbling, whole countries vanquished and just one family on the run from it all. We can see what Rhys Thomas is trying to do with his second novel and, for the most part, On the Third Day is very good in a typical thriller kind of way. Where it falls down, however, is when he attempts to make it more than that; the story is soon riddled with symbolism about the state of the modern world and the collapse of community, with existential crises aplenty as events expose the best and worst of humanity.

These are huge issues to address and are perhaps a little out of Thomas’ reach as a writer as he successfully terrifies with twists and brutal gore but clumsily crams philosophical scraps into the plot rather than thoughtfully unpicking the questions and complex emotions they provoke. A subtler approach would perhaps have been more effective.

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