Review: Juggernaut (Strain .5) by Amelia C. Gormley

August 11, 2015 Review 7

Review: Juggernaut (Strain .5) by Amelia C. Gormley

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

Title: Juggernaut
Author: Amelia C. Gromley
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Bane
Series: Strain
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Strain, Bane
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: August 10, 2015
Genres: Apocalypse, Dystopain, Male Male Romance
Pages: 378
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: five-stars
Flames: four-flames

It has been over a year and a half since I read Strain. It is still one of the darker, grittier books that I have ever read. Juggernaut is the prequel to that dark world. This second (first) book in the Strain series does something that I wish I read more of. Gormley walks her readers through the beginnings and then the fallout that led to the world that her characters are fighting to bring back from the brink of extinction due to a military/government introduced pandemic. I loved reading how the world fell apart. I’ve already read what the world went to but reading how and why it happened was a true pleasure.

Juggernaut is more dystopian, apocalyptic suspense than romance. There is plenty of sex and some of that sex has romance, but no happily ever after, and just surviving another day is certainly the main goal here. Once survival seems obtainable it becomes obvious that the surviving members of the government that caused the problem need to be removed from power and the hows of that are just as fascinating and the hows to everything else in this bleak world.

Zach and Nico are the romantic element and they are just heartbreaking to read. They have an against all odds romance that just doesn’t allow for them to get what they want out of what little life they have. They have a ton of guilt for what role they had in the world falling apart. They both want the things that are just not in the cards for them. (hopefully at this time) Mostly they want to survive in this hostile desolate world and protect the only one in it that they love. It makes for a small piece of happy in this gritty tale.

Paranormal Romance

Hi, and welcome to the Juggernaut blog tour!

Almost before I was done writing Strain, my mind began trying to fill in the blanks of the world we saw in Strain, trying to piece together what had led up to that point. I decided I wanted to write a story chronicling the apocalyptic pandemic, both the events leading up to it and the immediate aftermath. The result, of course, was Juggernaut.

On the Juggernaut blog tour, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the world of Juggernaut/Strain/Bane, including several cut scenes from Juggernaut which I felt contained important world-building details that in the end just didn’t fit the flow of the story. I’ll also be sharing a couple sneak previews of the third book in the Strain universe, Bane (coming September 21 from Riptide Publishing) as well as giving away three e-copies of Bane before it hits the shelves!

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post including a way to contact you (email, Twitter, or Facebook.) Each stop along the blog tour that you visit offers you another chance to enter. Be sure to check the Riptide blog tour schedule for a complete list of other stops. The contest will close Saturday, August 15th, 2015 and the winner will be contacted no later than Monday, August 17th. Any entries made without a way to contact the winner will be invalidated, so please don’t forget to provide your email, or your Twitter or Facebook address. Contest is NOT limited to US entries.

Good luck, and enjoy the tour!


This excerpt is the second of two scenes in Juggernaut that were deleted because they came from General McClosky’s POV. In the editing process, we decided McClosky should not be a POV character, as he sort of disappears for most of the latter half of the book so having him as a POV character early on left the book feeling imbalanced. Unfortunately, this meant we lost the inside perspective on the events happening behind-the-scenes that led up to the pandemic which would end up killing most of the human population.

The body looked like a bruised banana, purple-brown blotches of putrefying flesh and tissue spreading under the skin. The eyes in the face on the vid stared blankly.

“What is this?” Logan kept his hand still on the table, refusing to wipe it down his mouth and tip anyone off to the way his stomach was twisting.

Underneath her no-nonsense exterior, Thanh looked like she was walking to her own grave. Logan had never seen her so rattled. “It’s Beta, sir.”

That cannot be Beta. None of the tests produced this result and it was in lab trials for over a decade.”

“It’s mutated.”


“We don’t—I don’t know. We’re still working on that. But this is one of the Russian soldiers from the first engagement with the Juggernaut troops in July. More specifically, he was a medic who had first contact with the two casualties we deliberately left amid the dead Russian troops.”

Logan felt sweat begin to bead on his upper lip. He was about to protest again that this had to be something else when the body gave a small, involuntary jerk. “Jesus! He’s alive?”

“He was at the time of this video, which took a couple weeks to reach us because none of our operatives could get hold of it any sooner.”

“There’s no chance his exposure to Beta was coincidental with . . . whatever this is?”

“No, sir. Reports of other cases are coming in, and according to the verbal accounts of when the symptoms begin, the first hours before they notice the lesions are exactly what Beta is supposed to be. Then the flesh around the rash begins to go necrotic and the subject lapses into a sort of catatonia.”

“What about the recovery?”

One corner of Thanh’s mouth trembled. “By the time our troops moved in to secure the base where Beta was first deployed, seventy five percent of their troops were symptomatic, and thirty percent already dead. In the following weeks, the rest of the Russian troops began to manifest the symptoms. None have recovered.”

“Beta wasn’t designed to be fatal.” Logan heard the note of alarm sharpen his tone and pulled it back, wrapping himself in the same professional detachment Thanh wore. “The rash and malaise symptoms were only meant to last a couple months.”

“It’s possible that, given enough time and care, victims may recover. But two weeks in this state means they would be starved and dehydrated, not to mention the septic shock from those lesions getting infected. By the time anyone thought to apply that level of care the infection was so widespread that no one was well enough to care for them, especially not in those numbers.”

Thanh’s voice cracked and she dropped her gaze to the report on the table before her, refusing to look up again.

“Was it contained?”

“In Russia? We don’t know yet, sir.” Thanh’s assistant fielded that one, tactfully giving Thanh an opportunity reassert her composure. “No one has gone in or out since we moved in and seized control of that base, but we always knew full containment might not be a possibility if they managed to shift troops around before we could quarantine. And our intelligence from other parts of Russia is sketchy enough that, as of yet, if there have been any tertiary infections, we haven’t heard of them.”

“Then we need to burn that base to the ground, and all the bodies in it. Get our troops out and do it now, tonight. Recall the Juggernaut battalion and get then into quarantine in Atlanta immediately.”

“It’s too late.” Thanh’s voice was so quiet Logan almost didn’t hear her, but she reached for her control pad and advanced to another image, this time of a man in civilian clothing lying in a hospital bed with that same vacant look and those spreading lesions.

“Who is that? I thought you said we had no reports of other cases from Russia.”

“This is Alan Sokolof.” Her voice broke again as she finally lifted a despairing gaze to Logan. “He is—was an orderly at Bethesda.”


About the Author

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.







7 Responses to “Review: Juggernaut (Strain .5) by Amelia C. Gormley”

  1. -kkm

    i’m dying to see how the disparate times and characters resolve themselves

  2. Amelia C. Gormley

    Hi! Thank you to everyone for commenting and to The Jeep Diva for hosting me! I have everyone down for the giveaway and I’ll be checking back between now and the deadline to catch any further entries. Feel free to fling me questions or comments about the book if you’d like!

  3. Richele

    Great deleted scene! I absolutely LOVED Juggernaut! Not a surprise considering I loved Strain.