Greed, terrorism, and simple bad luck conspire to bring mankind to its knees as a viral infection spreads out of control, reducing those infected to undead horrors that feed upon the rest. It's a time of misery and death for most, however there are some who are lucky, some who are fast, and some who are just too damned tough to go down without a fight. This is their story.
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I had a really hard time coming up with a complete and coherent review to this one. The core story is a decent example of the Zombie genre, more reminiscent of "The Walking Dead" and "28 Days" than some of the more mystical approaches. Nice usage of contemporary political and terrorist elements in the creation of an apocalypse scenario.
But, the story is bogged down by the author's personal issues. The actual narrative is laden with latent sexual frustration, assumptions of gender issues, and a racial sub-plot which could be an effective side-story, if not for the author's decision to include both a forward and afterward note. These notes are so angry and defensive, it colors the entire production, and one has to wade through the chips on the author's shoulders to reach the story. Rather than simply standing by what he's written, or even taking some input for future stories, the author lashes out at readers (listeners) before they've even started the tale.
Basil Sands provides a solid, if somewhat un-nuanced narration of this one. I found him excellently matched to the backstory and general narrative, but stilted and awkward as a love scene narrator. To be fair, I didn't find the love scenes particularly well written, and thought they should have been alluded to, and then skipped past.
I think if the story had a good thorough editing to clean up some of the baggage, it would score a solid 3.5 - 4 stars, as it stands the clutter left me feeling like I heard the entire thing from a literary arm's distance.
KISS A@@ UNTIL YOU SMELL OF SH@T After reading the other reviews, I feel a strong urge to defend the book. This is life as it would mostly be like during an apocalypse. The characters are real people with real faults. The characters are very well developed, but all are not lovable. Some are lovable and if you don't see that you probably didn't finish the book. It takes a while for the characters to develop, but like a George RR Martin book, they don't always do what you expect. That is an example, I am not saying Meredith is as good as Martin, but who is?
Pros The characters: At first I thought oh no, another He Man Conservative propaganda novel. The novel starts out stressing, might means right and peace loving liberals who recycle will not survive. One main character is a short slim Jewish man in his 30's, who has manners. In the beginning of the novel he is made fun of and you are lead to believe that he will die early. It turns out he is a survivor. A teenager (who is the cut up of the group and provides comic relief). The black girl from the hood is the most controversial character. She is a racist herself and has a huge chip on her shoulder. She is the cause of much grief. These people do bad things and good things. They react the way most of us would in the same situation. The zombies: they are slow and are basically the background for the story. You really don't have to worry about them that much unless, you are badly hurt, surprised or trapped. One zombie is seen to drink from a stream. The Sex: I get tired of reading stories involving males and females and sex is hardly referred to. Unless you are very young or very old, sex is hopefully a big part of your life. Sex is a stress releaser and fighting Zombies causes stress, it also brings people closer and it is fun. Males think about sex all the time. There is one time when the sex in my opinion was gratuitous. The rest of the time if fit perfectly into the story. There is even one character, you will be hoping does get laid. Plot: Might be a little thin, the story is mostly the development of the characters, but there is one, although like most Zombie books, it involves going across country. Realistic: No heroes, no supermen, no serendipity, it's seems to be what would happen in real life. (if zombies attacked!)
HIS INSIDES FELT GREASY Cons: The Military does not respond the way I believe they would, especially the top brass. PM says he used to serve in the military and that he knows what he is talking about. I don't see a general or admiral shooting the liberal president. I don't see a colonel setting up his own Fiefdom with platoon whores and his own harem. Maybe after several years, but not within hours. I don't see the military going through towns and robbing the civilians. The top brass would not be that macho, they are sons of rich dads who went to big schools and they had to play politics to get the top spots. I could be wrong, but I hope I'm not. The Sex: There is an in depth girl on girl scene, which did not feel practical. It was almost a side story, put in just to have a sex scene. Forward: Until the afterword, I figured this was just a come on to get the reader interested. When I grew up, movies would advertise being banned in foreign countries, knowing that portraying themselves as super bad, would draw a large crowd. PM puts down the works of other writers. I too get tired of the military zombie books, that provide bunkers full of food, but that is because of the amount of books that repeat that scenario, not the original concept. I too, am tired of characters who are trained killers, but somebody likes it, cause they sell. Afterword: I thought it was unprofessional and not worthy. This is not the place for that.
Summary I liked the book and gave it five stars. I have the second book in my wish list along with the first book in another series PM started. This probably ranks fourth among my favorite Zombie books. Those being Cattle, Cell and the Mountain Man series.
The narrator is okay, he did not take away from or add to.