Dave is just an ordinary dude. He has a wife and two kids, a decent sales job, and a friend named Barry. I’ve always wanted a friend named Barry. Or Berry. I know a Beri, but we’re not friends, so that doesn’t count. Anyway, I digress.
Dave is an ordinary guy. On the day he’s supposed to go to the doctor to see if he’s got cancer, the zombie apocalypse happens. Cue the DUM-DUM-DUUUUUM sound effects.
Before I launch into the meat of the review, the good points. It’s very well written, compelling, and a quick, easy read. While I wish Dave actually contemplated his possible death/illness a little more in the beginning of the book, his struggle with his demise became relevant to the story and a great emotional selling point.
Everyman Dave has to struggle to get home to save his wife and kids. The zombies are a’coming, and he’s on foot after his best buddy Barry gets bitten. There’s a lot of climbing stuff in this book. Planters, trees, fire escapes, parkour-ing across roofs. I pondered the actual endurance level of that amount of physical activity from an ordinary guy, and it seemed a little exaggerated. BUt that’s what we writers do in fiction, right? I mean, it’s like the female main characters of popular zombie movies. Who would actually fight zombies in a mini skirt, thigh-high-high-heeled boots, and a tank top? In the event of an actual zombie attack, the majority of the American population would die the first day. We’re all talk. We don’t run. We don’t own an arsenal. We don’t stockpile food. At the vaguest threat of a hurricane or gas shortage, we’re killing each other, much less helping one another survive a zombie attack.
Let’s throw in some injuries–obtained when Dave is attempting his swim across a zombie-filled river. Head injury that bleeds heavily (the dude’s blood loss never factored into this thing. Head wounds bleed a LOT. Sever the temporal artery, and it could cause some issues!). Once he makes it ashore, he gets his arm broken by an oar. Broken bones HURT. Serious hurt. Again, we are spoiled Americans, used to prompt medical care and easily-obtained drugs. The author makes a note he strives for realism with this story, but realistically, an arm that’s as seriously broken as Dave’s would render a human almost helpless for a little while. I can only push the boundaries of my imagination so far, and as someone who has suffered a broken arm or two, this one makes me go, “Yeah, right…”
Later our hero suffers a crushed hip. You can’t walk with an untreated crushed hip. Basic physiology. The hip socket cradles the end of the femur. Without that functioning socket, there’s no support for the bone, and no way this dude could be up and running and fighting off the horde of zombies.
The author attempted something ‘different’. Unfortunately, he took a page out of The Walking Dead (and virtually every other zombie novel written…). All zombie novels are about the survivors, trying to survive. There are a few gore hounds who write about the carnage, but in general, zombie stories are about the fight to survive. There’s a long afterward type essay at the end of the story that almost cheapened the story, because I kept saying, “No. This is pretty much like every other zombie story out there. No, this isn’t really believable. All the injuries Dave recieves are debilitating in their own right. The head wound alone would have either caused a serious enough concussion to warrant unconsciousness, or enough blood loss to inhibit thought processes and physical stamina. Especially if the victim is in water, where the wound can’t clot. The broken arm. Again, painful, possible to work through, but it would slow him down a lot more. The crushed hip…*facepalm/headdesk*.
And the formatting. I completely understand how complicated formatting for Kindle is. It’s a pain in the ass, and I pay other people who know how to do it, to do it for me, because otherwise, my books come out looking like Deadlocked. If you’re determined to do it yourself, take the time to go through every single page to make sure it’s correct. It’s all about professionalism!
Over all, it’s a decent story. If you can suspend your disbelief enough to read through the injuries without some major cynicism (I’m sorry! I tried!), then it’s an interested take on a survivor story. Dave has a lot of motivation to make it home to his family, and it’s nice when he actually does. I enjoyed the emotional offering of his memories of his family, his daughters, and his wife. HIs sacrifice wasn’t in vain, and the author did a wonderful job showing us that.
SPOILER**** Scroll down to read, if you’re okay with reading about the ending.
My biggest pet peeve in zombie novels in general: first person, past tense narrative. Dave dies at the end of the book. How the heck has he managed to tell his story??? If you are going to write a first-person narrative and the character dies at the end, write it in present tense! If you’re a brainless, mindless zombie, you aren’t sitting around telling your story to folks, or picking up a pen to write it down. Be true to the story!