"Mountain Man" Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what's left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice... until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he's never encountered before.
Seemed like a good day to do my retro review of this book as Bark has done one over on her blog too!
Gus lives in the mountains, away from the 'gimps' seeking to shred the flesh of the living, but needs to come down on supply runs. Today he is seeking medical supplies and needs to take the risk of looking at the hospital just in case it hasn't been looted. It looks deserted but you never know what might be lurking in the dark...
This was a good introduction to Gus, learning about his habits and personality while he creeps around the dark corridors, looking for anything that can be used. We know he likes a drink to help him sleep, we know he has the worst zombie nightwares and we know that he is a guy who is doing everything he can to protect himself and survive. That does not mean that he cannot make mistakes. There are blood trails leading into the dark and Gus is unsure exactly where the medicines might be. Leaving too soon means losing the chance at hitting gold. Staying too long means danger has a chance to creep up on you. And then he hears the strange noise...
I liked the tension and the action in this short story. It certainly makes you want to find out what happens to Gus in future adventures. He comes across as a normal guy who learns the zombie rules from watching crap films. He is no superhero but tries to prepare the best he can when he goes out to salvage supplies.
The one thing that was a slight niggle was that in the first half of the story, the author overdosed a bit on fancy descriptions that just weren't needed. The vending machines were raped and punished. The squeaky wheel on a hamper was 'whistling its tune the whole way, like a high dwarf going home to see Snow White'. It was a bit over the top for me and didn't add to the story. When the author concentrated on just describing what happens to Gus, the writing is transformed into something so much better, and we get caught up in his story. It becomes tense and gritty and entertaining! Sometimes keeping it simple and putting the author right beside Gus in the story is a better idea.
Does this prequel make me want to read the full novels? Hell yes! I think Gus is going to be an interesting guy to go on an adventure with. The writer also adds enough realism with the setting of the hospital to show good attention to detail that bodes well for a novel. I look forward to reading more.
Read February 2015.