DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry
It’s official. Zombies are currently all the rage when it comes to horror fiction. And I have to admit, I’m a sucker for the hordes of decaying masses. My son and I watch Walking Dead whenever the new seasons are rolling, and we love the soap opera feel of the storylines (even though they occasionally get bogged down).
I’ve read the first of Maberry’s Joe Ledger novels and hope to get to the next two really soon. But when I heard about Dead of Night, his latest novel, I couldn’t resist dipping into it. Big mistake. I lost the whole evening slogging through killer zombies and a small town grasping at straws for survival.
This book is a roller coaster ride on steroids. There are ups and downs in the action, but you’re turning pages so fast that most of the time you just sail right over those. Maberry cranks up the action and apprehensiveness on the first page, then steps right into it and really cuts loose.
The characters and the movements feel familiar because we’ve seen most of them before, but the author has added a new kink that pops out and made me feel slightly uncomfortable with everything that was going on. You see, these are thinking zombies. The person that they were is still locked into the wandering corpses in everlasting search for the brain buffet. They are as much a victim while “dead” as are those that they prey on.
And don’t get me started on the black worm things that spread the virus and gets vomited up on a regular basis throughout these pages. These worms are even more stomach churning than the zombies.
Maberry spends considerable effort to make his zombies believable through medical science that we have today. Reading through that material, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was something that couldn’t be created in today’s labs. And if it isn’t, is some wunderkind going to be inspired to go into the lab early one day and whip this puppy up?
I really liked Desdemona Fox (Dez) and the way she’s all hardcore with everything going on. Nice change of pace. We’re getting more and more heroines these days, and I’m really in favor of that.
But I like what’s been done with Billy Trout, her ex-lover, as well. Billy is another side of the good old boy coin, the one that just can’t leave things alone and does what he wants to in order to achieve his goal.
The book also leaves readers somewhat hanging at the end, and I’m predicting the author isn’t done with his new brand of zombies. I’m looking forward to the next book, and to the movie based on this book.