Steven Jenkins' BURN THE DEAD uniquely takes the modern day pop culture zombie phenomenon and spins a fresh, exciting, chilling tale unlike any other of its kind, sure to impress readers from the most hardcore zombie enthusiasts to the casual horror/thriller fan hungry for a suspenseful and totally engaging ride. It focuses on an everyday man who burns zombies for a living. His life is turned upside down when he finds his own wife infected, and his four-year old son trapped inside a quarantined area.
Rob is a normal man who loves his wife Anna and young son Sammy, who he doesn't see enough of. You see, Rob is the man at the morgue who burns the zombies when they are captured and restrained. He doesn't mind the work, but it means late finishes and early starts as a mini outbreak can occur at any time. But one day, Rob is shattered to see that Anna is one of the zombies. Where is Sammy? Is he alive? He can't help Anna now but he can save his son-if he is brave enough to break into the quarantine zone that his neighbourhood is and brave the zombie hordes...
I really enjoyed this book. Finally we have a hero in a zombie book that I like and can relate to! Rob could be the guy next door to you. He likes his job, hates his boss, works too hard for too little money and loves his family. He's a good normal guy who is faced with trying to find his son in a cordoned off area teaming with zombies. HE doesn't have a stack of weapons in his car. He's not the superfit guy with tactical awareness and a great plan. He's just a guy who gets tired and make mistakes and won't give up until he finds Sammy. The other characters in the book are fascinating. Janet's story was really well written and had me on the edge of my seat as I waited to see what happened. I also liked the plot with Rob's neighbour but I'm saying no more as I don't want to spoil it.
The plot is very good. It's hard to be original in a zombie outbreak novel but I think the author did bring something different to it. It is not a full on end of the world outbreak. Society in this book has obviously survived zombie outbreaks in the past and has learned to deal with them. When an outbreak occurs, quarantine is set up and then cleaning teams are sent in to catch and restrain the zombies who are then sent to the morgue to be burned by Rob. However something has gone wrong and the cleaners have been attacked by the zombies as Rob discovers when he gets into the quarantine area.
Rob encounters zombies an a cleaner who tells him what has been going wrong, as well as his neighbours both alive and undead. The author manages to transport you there, to the safe streets around your home that have become a war zone and I found myself thinking about an outbreak in my local area and how I would get to my house. There are a lot of tense moments in the book as Rob encounters a lot of danger and grief. I thought it was all really well written and there were a few surprising twists as well.
I can't say there was anything I didn't like about it. Plot and characters were excellent, writing style was good, and it kept me wanting to turn the pages and rooting for Rob. I read an e-copy and went out and bought the paperback straight after. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series and I recommend this to all zombie fans.