Oleander is your typical small town in Kansas, nothing much happens there until the day people went on a crazy murder spree. It is now one year later and the town has settled down, but they can’t forget the horror of the Killing Day. Daniel was the only survivor of a drug store shooting; Jule saw her aunt and uncle die; Ellie witnessed the crucifixion of a man; Matt, closeted gay jock, watched his lover get hit by a car repeatedly; and Cass is the only killer who lived, she killed a baby she was babysitting and has been in an institution ever since. So life returns to normal until a massive F5 tornado destroys half the town. Now everyone is going a little crazy, impulse control has been tossed aside, and the town is quarantined by soldiers. Oleander turns into a powder keg of religious zealots, power-hungry politicians, meth lords and crazy football jocks. Everyone is out to get someone and nowhere is safe. Daniel, Jule, Matt, Ellie, and Cass band together for survival, but will all of them survive?
This is a seat-of-your-pants horror thrill ride. It would actually make a great movie. It reminded me of Stephen King in its cast of characters and storytelling. You feel very claustrophobic in this small town with nowhere to go and no one to trust. Even a little old lady can be a killer in Oleander. I’m not sure I buy the science explanation behind the crazy, but if you take that with a grain of salt and just enjoy the ride you will not be disappointed. I really couldn’t put this book down. Wasserman is not afraid to go dark or to kill off characters. I like the question of whether the drug made everyone crazy or if it just brought out what was already there. Any author who starts a book off with the killing of a baby and then makes you sympathetic to the baby-killer is one twisted writer…and makes for a great book!
I received a copy of this book from the publishers at Netgalley.com.