Charlie Campbell was your average, balding, thirty-year-old alcoholic with a dead-end job and a penchant for shambling through life one mistake after another. However, none of that mattered following the sudden arrival of a mysterious sickness that brought with it infected mobs of zombie-like creatures thirsting for the flesh of the living. Trapped in a Chicago apartment the morning after a raucous bachelor party, Charlie and his old fraternity buddies must battle for survival against the cannibalistic horde, a military invasion and their own rampant stupidity.
With supplies, common sense and brain cells dwindling by the hour, the motley crew - including a racist cop, a Sri Lankan used car salesman, a stoner landlord and a pet raccoon - must pull out all the stops to avoid joining the ranks of the dead. If you like zombies, action and humor, crack a beer, pull up a barstool, and prepare for one wild ride.
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Very Nearly Perfect
The book is a stitch, and could well be subtitled "The American Shaun of the Dead". It is exactly what you think it is from reading the pitch: "The Hangover" with zombies. And that angle could easily lead a lesser writer to a complete train wreck. But Mr. Johnson pulls it off with élan. His characters are the everyman friends we've all had on and off throughout our lives, and their responses to the various scenarios that arise are - blessedly - the reactions I would expect from me and my friends, and not the stuff of heroes. At the same time, Mr. Johnson cuts his characters no slack, and "kills his darlings" with ghoulish delight.
The humor is sometimes a little sophomore-ish, but that is quite in keeping with the characters, so it works. The "physical comedy", so to speak, is brilliantly detailed by the author; I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but I found myself sustaining lengthy belly-laughing fits more than twice. The scene with the zombie and the mullet is worthy of the Marx Brothers. The ability to convey effective slapstick comedy in prose is the mark of a solid writer.
The first big fight with the zombies when one grabs Russ by the mullet. That whole fight scene is hysterical. The "comic high jinx" are pretty evenly distributed throughout the book.
No, but he's now on my list, along with Phil Gigante and Wayne June. Mr. Helleger's performance is flawless. He nails the voices for the various character stereotypes without sounding stereotypical. His reading is spirited and engaging, and his sound FX are priceless.
I don't usually write reviews, because someone else has usually said what I wanted to say, only better. But there were no reviews yet on this a/b when I checked earlier today, and I very much want to encourage Mr. Johnson to Write! Write! Write! In my humble judgment, this book stands right up there with WWZ, Zombie Fallout, etc. It's definitely not "Adam Sandler vs the Zombies" - there's a real zombie story in there, and a very interesting twist on the origins of the plague.
A solid, thoroughly entertaining first adventure into Zombiedom.
(PS: When it comes time to make the movie, please remember me as one of the book's first fans on audible - I would love to be a zombie extra!)
a total blast
WARNING: this story is full of sophomoric humor. it is over the top in a good way. it is not for the faint of heart or easily offended! if you are politically correct, you will not like this book!
with that out of the way, i must admit i laughed my @$$ off many times while listening to this story.
i guess i'll start my review with some of the crazy and memorable characters. the main character is charlie. charlie is a balding, overweight 30-something loser who's best days are behind him. his roommate, trent, is a racist and homophobic cop who shakes down homeless people for extra coke money. big rob is a loveable but dumb as rocks meat head. gay mike, who says he's not gay but is always making gay references. left nut is a shameless horndog. vidu is a heavily accented sri-lankan who always strikes out with the ladies. blake is an uppity investment broker. russ is blake's redneck uncle who unabashedly sports a serious mullet. and jim who is charlie's best friend and the only seemingly normal person in the group.
as the story opens, this group of friends is getting ready for blake's bachelor party. after a wild night of partying, charlie, jim, left nut, and vidu head stumble their way to the finish line of the Chicago marathon to cheer on vidu's girlfriend. shortly after they arrive, their hangovers only get worse as crazy people start tackling and eating the marathoners. so starts their battle to survive as chicago and the rest of the world goes to hell.
all joking aside, there is a good zombie survival story along side all the slapstick! believe it or not, there are a couple of heartwarming and heart wrenching moments amidst the craziness.the narration is great. the narrator captures the humor on the pages of the book and delivers it with perfect tone and timing!
if you're not easily offended and are looking for a laugh, download this book and press play! if you've got kids, put on the headphones or wait until they go to sleep.
the other reviewers are right! this one's a winner all around!
- Mike Naka