Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Book Review: Dead Hunger by Eric A Shelman

An epidemic that transforms humans into zombie-like creatures has swept over the eastern United States and quite possibly the world, and Flex Sheridan doesn't like it one bit. In an effort to save his younger sister, Flex re-connects with Gem Cardoza, his former girlfriend. Together they take his six-year-old niece Trina, the only uninfected survivor of his sister's family, and his infected sister Jamie, and make a run from Florida to his isolated home in Lula, Georgia. 

As they head north, they encounter Hemp Chatsworth. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Hemp is British, and holds a degree in Epidemiology and Mechanical Engineering, along with crossbow-wielding Charlie Sanders and dog, this group uses street smarts, book smarts, and technology to defend against the new "Abnormals" that walk the earth. Hemp is also compelled to learn how they got this way, and reverse the condition to save Flex's sister. So grab your machine gun and take a ride in their fortified vehicles and mobile lab; you're going to want these people on your side when the Dead Hunger... (Please note: This book contains strong language.)

My Review:
At the start of the book the dead have already risen and we join the team on a mission. Flex is thinking back to how it began with him trying to get to his sister Jamie, her husband and two daughters, which leads to the rest of the book being a flashback. I hate it when authors do this because we are being told who is alive and dead before we get to the flashback which shows you all of the events taking place. If we had started with Jamie's phone call and Flex rushing over to see what happened, it would have been full of tension and much more enjoyable instead of being spoiled in advance! Removing that prologue and sorting a few niggles might have produced another half or full star for my rating of the book. (NB before you yell about half stars not being available on GR, I'm referring to my blog rating)

Flex is a guy on a mission to save his family and try to find a cure for his infected sister. The scenes where he travels to Jamie's house and finds out what happened are very well written and would have been tense and exciting if we hadn't already been told who survived. Flex and Gem have a good chemistry and the fact that they had a relationship before the book starts means we don't have to go through all the love angst and 'getting together' stuff that annoys me in zombie books that feature romance. Besides, this is not romance based, just two people with a connection that spend most of their time fighting the undead or grabbing supplies and rescuing people. The one thing about them that annoyed me was their obsession with drugs. Seriously, how many books in this genre feature dope smoking characters? It really bugs me and I don't like it in my MCs.

I like Hemp and not just because he is British. He is a smart man who has a lot of ideas for protection and defence, which I found interesting, although at times the descriptions got just a bit too technical for my liking and I found it difficult to imagine what was actually happening. I think it needs to be simplified a bit for us ordinary people! I also liked the amount of action in the book. WE had the events at the house, the police station, the CDC and the housing area, all of which I thought were nicely written and kept you wondering what was coming next. You must have plenty zombies in a zombie novel after all and this does not disappoint!

I'm not as keen on the idea of these intelligent zombies who are finding a way to store the bodies in a cool place to preserve their food supply, but it did lead to an exciting rescue attempt so I put my preferences to one side and enjoyed the action. Having zombies able to spray a mist from their eyes to make victims pass out was maybe a bit much for me though it was certainly different. I guess it makes a change to see that in a zombie book, but I hope the smart zombie thing isn't taken too far in this series if I read on.

One big plot hole that bugged me was the police station search. Flex goes to a lot of trouble to find a pharmacy to get something to make Trina sleep in the car so she doesn't see the zombies and victims they pass. Yes, a good idea, along with a big quilt for her to hide under to be out of sight in the car while Flex and Gem take care of business. So why drug her, then carry her into the dark police station, rendering you a hand short for using the guns, not checking all the bodies are really dead and having the zombies and gunfire inside waking her up? How could they take a young kid into a building that was dark and full of dead bodies, that they hadn't fully secured? Crazy stuff. The other plot hole is how they lie to Trina all the time about her mother being away, yet discuss Jamie being dead and infected and locked up in the van outside while the girl is sitting at their feet-yet Trina doesn't know anything??? Baffling.

Despite a few flaws this is a decent, action packed zombiefest with good characters and plenty going on. It is well worth a read and I'll probably continue with the series.
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

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