Guest Review: Class 5 by Shaun Horton


Seguro, Arizona is the definition of a quiet desert town. An oasis, hours away from the nearest city.

However, on this night, a mechanical malfunction has triggered a desperate and vicious pursuit through the desert. Hunter and hunted alike are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in their missions and neither is going to let anything stand in their way.

Unfortunately, for the residents of Seguro, their quiet little town is about to become the center of a deadly game of hide and seek…


Fully transparent disclaimer: A copy of novel was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The second novel by new author, Shaun Horton, Class 5 displays a sure and deft hand in quickly setting up its darker take on a Men in Black premise: An alien has crashed near a small town in the Arizona desert, and the army – fully aware of the occasional incursion of various alien beings – sends out a team of soldiers to take down the alien and see to anyone who catches a glimpse of the creature. There’s no cartoon-like “flashy thing” here, however. Instead, in Horton’s universe, the soldiers ruthlessly eliminate anyone who sees too much, setting up a double threat that the innocent civilians in Seguro may never escape from. Complicating matters still further is Horton’s rather original addition to the threat posed by his alien. Essentially the creature is covered by spores that become lethal to humans if they are exposed to them for any length of time.

Class 5 starts out exceedingly well, and while some of its initial promise may not be lived up to, it remains an enjoyable variation on the “aliens among us” theme that sci-fi authors frequently turn to. The alien is suitably menacing and the chapters from its perspective offer some interesting perspectives on how a life form far in advance of humanity might view our behaviour. The infection element also provides a great change of pace and adds to the urgency of what the characters are facing.

At about 160 pages, Class 5 wastes no time getting into the action and there’s little that could be trimmed to improve what’s on offer. There are the standard formatting errors for a self-published work (for example, periods where there should be commas and vice versa), but thankfully very few typos. The late introduction of anyone that could be termed as a likeable protagonist is something of an issue, however, as the reader is left with the leader of the soldiers as their main reference point, and his gradual unraveling makes it difficult to connect to him.

Though Class 5 settles for a largely predictable ending, there’s no reason why Horton could not return to the universe he has established here and flesh out what he has begun. I, for one, would happily sign up for the ride.

3.5 Fungal Infections for Class 5

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