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The Double Human Hardcover – June 8, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Tom Wilner Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This enticing sequel to 2009's The Human Disguise blends elements of post-apocalyptic science fiction and police procedural thrillers in a near-future Miami that has been turned into a lawless "Quarantine Zone" by numerous terrorist attacks, rapid climate change, and disease. While tracking down a serial killer nicknamed "the Vampire", intrepid detective Tom Wilner meets and becomes emotionally entangled with a philanthropic teacher who lives and works in the quarantined area. As their relationship grows, both become unknowing targets of the madman. Barely-explored subplots related to an approaching space ship and the godlike humanoids already living on earth will have readers anxiously awaiting the next installment of this audaciously entertaining SF series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the near future, the U.S., its resources stretched thin by multiple foreign wars and homegrown political upheavals, is nearing full-scale anarchy. In Florida, the Miami Quarantine Zone is essentially a prisonlike wasteland, populated by the scum of society. Tom Wilner, a police detective, catches a murder case, but he soon realizes it's more than that: there's a serial killer at large, and to catch him, Tom will need to go into Miami. And if that's not scary enough, consider this: the killer is not human—he's the undead. This follow-up to The Human Disguise (2009) is a sure-footed and imaginative mixture of post-apocalyptic and vampire themes. Wilner, the veteran cop, is a solid lead—he's the reader's anchor, a familiar character in an unfamiliar world—and the author packs the novel with plenty of thrills and chills. The novel should appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic or near-future science fiction, horror stories with a vampire slant, and noir crime fiction (the story might be fantastic, but the author mostly writes it like a straight crime drama). --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765320150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765320155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I read and enjoyed the first book in this series - The Human Disguise. I liked the world building and thought the combo police procedural/sci fi tale was well worth reading.

But author O'Neal puts a lot of effort into describing the Florida environment in this book - to the detriment of character development and plot.

Note - you'll get a lot more out of this book if you read "The Human Disguise." But that won't answer all your questions concerning this offering.

This story starts four months after the events in the previous novel. Detective Tom Wilner is back - chasing after a serial killer called "The Vampire." Sounds interesting? It wasn't. A disjointed narrative, editing issues (again), dangling plot ideas - all mix together to produce a hodgepodge of a book. Every time I started getting interested in the story, it took off on another tangent and many times didn't find its way back. There is the spaceship on its way to Earth introduced in the first book and never developed any further. There is the suddenly serious romance of Wilner. And the dogs. I really wanted more on the dogs. And not much on the Simolits and Hallecks this go round.

This was disappointing enough after the first book that I won't bother with any additional books in the series. Too bad. Some strong, interesting ideas that just didn't work out.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Double Human by James O'Neal

The Human Disguise was the first book in this series. This too is a cop book set in a near, possible future. Tom Wilner is a cop trying to maintain order in a dystopian future south Florida. He is ex-military facing bio-engineered diseases and possible aliens. His priorities change dramatically when his family is threatened. In this second book, he continues to try and enforce a radically changed legal landscape.

The Hallecks and Simolits play a smaller part in this book. The aliens are referred to but don't really play into the story. The current events aspect of the book is just as frightening as the first book. The ramifications of thrusting our values and ideas into foreign cultures and the ensuing violence are altogether too real. Equally, the ramifications of a collapse of the economy are certainly highlighted by the current self centered egotism on our elected and not very representative officials.

A near future characterized by an uncaring government and bureaucratic morass doesn't seem all that unlikely compared to current events today.

Wilner and Besslia are likeable characters, the Hallecks and Simolits are figures of curiosity but hardly likeable.

The book is entertaining a combination of cop book and vigilante justice.

I recommend the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, it's worth noting that although the detail page and the cover materials do not mention it, this novel is not a stand-alone work. It is a sequel to "The Human Disguise." I have not read "Disguise," but it's almost certainly better than its sequel, as it's hard to imagine a publisher commissioning a follow-up to a book as sloppily written as "The Double Human."

The author has clearly worked very hard on his setting, which involves a quarantined portion of south Florida and a potpourri of right-wing bogeymen: global cooling, Hugo Chavez (here, "The Hitler of South America") Central American jihadists, etc. But he hasn't bothered to convey it in a plausible way. Instead, people drop jarring explanatory notes into conversations, and muse to themselves about the history of the region at the slightest opportunity:

"This was his first serial case. The other murders he had investigated involved single or gang killings. There hadn't been a report of a serial killer in Florida since the first of the Islamic terror attacks in Miami. The added law enforcement after the tanker bomb that took out three square blocks in the center of Miami and killed three thousand scared away a lot of the criminals. Then, when the anthrax was blown through the Dadeland Mall's air-conditioning and caused sixty-five hundred people to die, the army was sent in. After the mass migration and fear of the bioplague, it was easier just to abandon the southern tip of Florida rather than to save it."

The story progresses awkwardly. Although ostensibly a procedural, the police work is completely incidental to the revelation of the mysteries, and no detective discovers anything except by chance.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read the Human Disguise and decided that the series had some major potential. James O'Neal creates an incredible future where there is an approaching alien ship, quarantine zones throughout the country, a constant threat of terrorist attacks, and a secretive hominid species living among the humans undetected. There is a ton of interesting concepts here to play off of. In the second book of the series, the plot revolves around a serial killer from a quarantine zone.

I have always thought how refreshing it was to see that O'Neal decided to not take the vampire route with his sci-fi novel, though it initially seemed like he was in the first book. I love the evolutionary branch that he decided to go with in this series. The approaching alien vessel also created a fantastic red herring in the first book. Unfortunately in the sequel, the mediocre plot is poorly executed.

The main character, Tom Wilner, is extremely one dimensional. He comes across as a little too perfect. His love interest is a little rushed. It goes from innocent crush to full on love in a matter of a week. The killer had potential, don't get me wrong, but the reveal of his character was poorly done. You find out his identity very early in the book, seeing part of the narrative from his perspective. Near the end of the book you understand a little more of his psychosis, but at that point it is hardly relevant. The only character I cared for was Tom's best friend Steve, who showed many flaws, but made up for it with chutzpah. I found his storyline to be far more entertaining, and really wanted to see him succeed.

It may seem to some that I am nitpicking this book, but even the most easygoing critics must admit that there is some very lazy storytelling in this story.
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