27 November 2017

Zombies at their best ... er ... worst

Horror (zombies) | Slow Burn boxed set | Bobby Adair

One would think that the zombie apocalypse has been done to death. But wait! Bobby Adair has written something that will have you flipping the pages as fast as you can read. Thank goodness I picked up the boxed set. Who could have waited to read the next and the next. I'd write a longer review, except that I need to go pick up the rest of the series. I understand there are already 8 books.

If you like thoughtful writing, fast action sequences, humour, zombies (duh), a likeable if somewhat crazy hero and other characters (his buddy has given him a superhero name: Null Spot, for good reason), frantic hopelessness mixed with diehard optimism, and strong characterisation, then this series is for you. Excellently edited, too, besides being very well written. The best part is that it actually gets better going from book 1 to book 3, not just in terms of zombie concepts, but also difficulty levels for the survivors, and in terms of moral questions. So you can be assured of lots of reading pleasure, and a side order of wondering how precariously modern civilisation is perched.

My small quibbles: The story is located in the USA, so you have more guns and shooting than you can roll your eyes at, a view that China is all third-world and a decidedly lukewarm attitude towards vegetarians (given all the cannibalism that a zombie book implies).

The book begins with a young man being bitten by an infected zombie on Zero Day of the zombie infection reaching the USA. Hauled up by the police for murder, he realises to his horror (and ours), that the crime wave is not due to bad drugs, but people going crazy. The hospital is not much help, because the Army has been called in to enforce quarantine. You have some good people, and as the story goes on, you have some less good people, and then some horrible ones.

If zombies could happen, it could happen this way. You will hold your breath as the Zed and his new friends tiptoe through the minefields of horror unleashed by a speedy breakdown of social order as most people succumb to the infection and civilisation starts going down the drain.

Now, let me go check out books 4 onwards, and see what new terrors the zombies can get up to.

Short, crisp horror

Horror | A Dozen Nightmares | Angel Wedge

Angel Wedge creates atmosphere and terror in the fewest words and the crispest sentences.

From everyday horrors like murderers to fantasy and sf horror to Lovecraftian stories that scare you by what they don't tell you, you can find every type in this short story collection. It starts with a bang, tears through different settings, urban and rural, reworks old concepts and startles with new ones, and ends with as big a bang.

If you like Lovecraft, Wedge is better, more modern. If you like Stephen King, Wedge is less wordy yet spares nothing. If you like Ray Bradbury horror stories, Wedge is crisper and comes to the point with speed and despatch.

Some of these tales are going to haunt me long years from now with their gentle telling of creepiest evils, heartless loves and fringe organisations.

Read and enjoy! Worth every penny.