This zombie tale set in Florida takes no time in getting started. Within the first couple of pages, a noxious gas is released by construction workers digging and thus begins the action. (I’d hoped it would be buried canisters of Trioxin from Return of the Living Dead). We follow a happily married nursing student, Emma, who becomes aware of the spreading incident when a hospital patient dies and comes back. The situation is compounded by Hurricane Ike striking Florida as the chaos mounts, and news reports of violence and rabies filter in. As the zombie outbreak spreads, Emma and her husband Jake escape their house and must decide where to go and what to do from then on. I really liked the weather’s role in the background with the incessant rain in the early part of the book.
I liked the setting. It’s an interesting location and terrain for zombie dodging, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the hurricane-like conditions playing havoc to add further tension.
Emma and many of the characters are very light, breezy and happy-go-lucky. It fits the tone of the book. Despite what’s going on, the characters don’t get too dark and brooding. There are some quite heavy themes interspersed through the book. It’s an interesting mix, because there are some severe deaths and things that happen to the main characters but they don’t seem to penetrate them too deeply. The wise-cracking keeps coming even under the most dire circumstances. Some of their dialog and reactions don’t really work well all the time in my opinion, but it’s not something that detracts from the book or pulls you out of it. There is a nice amount of gore, with an especially good window related scene and a baby scene that the author didn’t shy away from.
We follow Emma and the other survivors who she meets up with as they struggle to find safety and supplies. There is little respite though, and zombie mayhem and death is never too far away from Emma and her group. This book is nothing too heavy, and is not reinventing the wheel. To say the market is flooded with zombie books is an understatement, but this book stands out and is worth reading. It’s a fun ride that the author takes you on. I look forward to reading book two.
Reviewed by Andrew Tadman. @thebooksofblood