Just when you thought you’d heard every zombie story on the planet comes Dana Fredsti‘s zombie apocalypse novel that manages to show a new side to a zombie apocalypse. When I first got the book I took it to be a Sookie Stackhouse style series starter, and while there are elements of that style present, it’s a less sexually charged series, and more a love letter to the genre of zombies than a revealing portrait of the main character. I understand it’s the first Ashley Parker book, and while I can see how the series could eventually go to touch on other horror tropes, at the same time, this book sets up the next one if that’s the way the author chooses to go with the series.
We first meet our hero Ashley while she struggles through college in her late 20’s, dating a younger guy named Matt, and finding herself butting heads with her favorite professor’s two assistants, Gabriel and Jamie. When her life is interrupted by a sudden zombie outbreak, she loses Matt, but is saved by a military quarantine task force. Even though she is bitten by a zombie, she is a rare “wild card”, immune to the zombie virus. As she deals with the loss of her boyfriend, roommate, and best friends, she learns that zombie outbreaks have happened before, and her professor for her communicable diseases class is ex-military with experience in controlling zombie outbreaks.
While all hell begins to break loose, she learns Gabriel is also ex-military, and he will be leading the wild cards in the fight against the zombie menace. Yeah, there is some cheesy dialogue, and horror culture references galore, but it’s done with an honesty that doesn’t make the whole thing corny, and while it’s not overly sophisticated, it’s a love letter to the genre, and a fun, gory read. The story is basic and hits all the notes you expect it to hit, but if you don’t expect George A. Romero level social commentary, it’s a fun story and a throwback to old school zombies that are a far cry from 28 Days Later. The characters aren’t much more than classic zombie survivor leftovers, from all walks of society, but they keep the story moving, and there’s a fun character to follow for everyone, much like The Walking Dead.
I’m still curious where the character goes from here, more into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer world of different monsters, or a continuation of the global fight against zombie outbreaks. Either way, there is plenty for the character to go on to do, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this property picked up for a TV series or movie adaptation. Titan Books put this one out, and it has a very pulpy cover, so I’m sure it will do well among the horror readers, and I hope to be able to bring you an interview with author Dana Fredsti in the coming weeks. Worth checking out for the die hard zombie fans, and fans of properties like Sookie Stackhouse.